Skip to main content

Healing Out Loud: A Mental Health Film Contest


Let's Talk About Mental Health

Film contest intro

Join us for another year of Healing Out Loud, a short film contest dedicated to normalizing mental health and encouraging all of us to hold more open and inclusive conversations.

Mental health shouldn’t be a crisis in hiding. One in five Americans - over 65 million people - cope with mental health issues, and suicide is the leading cause of death in Utah for people age 10-34. But the stigma around mental health is as strong as ever.

Mental health is one of the most ignored, downplayed and misunderstood challenges in America today. But you can help change that by sharing your story.

How to Enter

If you are age 15-30 and live in Utah, we want to hear from you. Share your vision of “Healing Out Loud” in a short video. It can be anything: original music, dance, spoken word, art, poetry, or speech. The only requirement is to be creative and be yourself. 


Entering is simple:

  • Upload a video to one of two categories:
    • A short, 30-second or less video
    • A little longer video, up to 5 minutes
  • Complete all required entry forms
  • Adhere to all contest rules

Contest Rules

  • Avoid showing and promoting brands and organizations
  • "Safe Messaging" guidelines have been followed with sensitive and/or triggering content
  • Music meets all sync rights and copyright standards
  • Consent has been given by anyone in the film outside of the contestant (this includes parents of minors)
    • A form will need to be signed once your video is submitted
  • Review full contest rules 

What’s a contest without some great prizes?

Macbook Pros

Apple Watches

Cotopaxi Bags

Contest Swag & More!


Prizes include MacBook Pros, Cotopaxi bags, and Apple watches, and more!

Contest participants and winning videos will also be featured during a showcase event on May 11, 2023.

Meet the Judges

Lilian Agar


Originally from Mexico and now based in Salt Lake City, Lilian Agar is an artist activist, and therapist in training at the University of Utah. Agar’s mission is to provide positive learning experiences through art in efforts to highlight contemporary challenges regarding social justice.

Don Barfuss

Phase 2 Producer, Spy Hop

As a filmmaker and storyteller, Don is dedicated to creating a powerful audience connection with every project. His personal productions have included festival-winning short films and music videos, while his professional marketing video work includes more than 150 projects, large and small.

Lauryn Batista

2022 Healing Out Loud Contest Winner

Lauryn Batista is an Illustration and Creative Writing Student, graduating from SUU this Spring. She was the First Runner Up of last year’s Healing Out Loud contest with her animated poem “Don’t Forget That I’m Still Here”. You can find her work at @lolomacdraws on Instagram.

Dawn Borchardt

Salt Lake City Arts Council

Dawn Borchardt has an events and film festival background, with over a decade in the non-profit sector. She is also a photographer and filmmaker, and host of filmmaker interview podcast Faux Reel. Her passion is supporting artists who are making a positive impact and inspiring others.

Loren Brunken

Film Mentor, Spy Hop

Loren Rose Brunken is a film artist and screenwriter. Her passion for filmmaking came to fruition at a young age. In every film mode, she's been captivated by the story of life, and its endless iterations: expanding her sense of humanness, heart, and aliveness.

Lauren Carn

Miss Draper 2022

Lauren Carn is a theatre artist studying in the Theatre Teaching BFA program at the University of Utah. She is a teacher and an advocate, who is passionate about equitable access to arts education and advocates for equal-opportunity casting in educational theatre environments.

Liberty Fuller

Teen Peer and SafeUT Advocate

Liberty Fuller is a junior from Lehi, Utah. She enjoys playing the guitar, violin and piano. She also likes drawing, Minecraft, and making video content for her YouTube channel. One of her TikToks has 1.8 million views! She's passionate about mental health because of her own journey through trauma.

Brian Higgins

Founder and Executive Director, Mental Healthy F.i.T.

Brian Higgins is a creative imagineer and mental health advocate incorporating film, stand up comedy, visual arts and events to create community through creative communication. Using creative expression through film, comedy, art and storytelling to shine spotlights on our shadows and ending stigma. He is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Mental Healthy F.i.T. (films, ideas & tips) and strives to change perspectives in the hope of making things better to help people. Find out more at

Jess Holzbauer

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Jess Holzbauer, LCSW, has worked in the mental health field for over 15 years and is the Program Manager for Kidstar and Teenscope Day Treatment Programs at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. She is an advocate for providing the highest quality, affirming care for LGBTQ youth.

Kate Kaufman

Teen Peer and Podcast Host

Kate Kaufman is high school student and avid supporter of mental health education. She leads a psychology club at Olympus High School and is the host of the podcast "It's Getting Better," where teens tell their mental health stories. Next year, Kate will be studying neuroscience at Harvard University, where she hopes to continue championing mental wellness.

Mariah Mellus

Director of Utah Film Center

Mariah Mellus is the Executive Director of the Utah Film Center, which connects people, stories, and ideas through film exhibition, artist support, and media arts education. She utilizes her 15 years of public film exhibition, film festival operations, media education, and outreach to connect filmmakers from around the world with their intended audiences.

Taylor VanderToolen

Student Body President, University of Utah

Taylor VanderToolen is a senior undergraduate student and Student Body President of the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU). He has been heavily involved across campus in many clubs and programs. He and his team aim to create an inclusive environment that promotes belonging and encourages students to bring their own unique experiences and ideas to the table.

Torrence Wimbish

Supervisor, Mental Health First Responders

Torrence has spent years working as a therapist with the young adult college population. He's passionate about LGBTQIA+ concerns, identity development, trauma issues, mindfulness based practices, and more. And is always honored and humbled to witness the transformation that many of his clients make during their journeys of self-discovery.


Contact Us
Like, Share, and Subscribe


If you’re comfortable sharing, post your video to social media, use the hashtag #HealingOutLoud and tag @uofuhmhi. We also encourage you to invite your family, friends, and networks to participate.

2022 Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner

Joshua Davis  |  Utah State University

Runners Up


Justin Hunt
Southwest Technical College


Lauryn Batista
Southern Utah University

Dustin Winter
Utah Valley University

Joshua Davis
Utah State University

Maya Hardie
Utah Valley University

Hannah Nielson
Mountainland Technical College

Justin Hunt
Southwest Technical College

Kelsey Hart
University of Utah

Joshua Rasmussen
Utah Valley University

Contest Partners

Partner With Us!

Student Group Studying

Utah Community Mental Health Resources