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2023 PSA Contest Submission Rules

A downloadable version of these rules is available here.

All students submitting entries for the PSA contest MUST follow the rules below or their entry will not be accepted. There are no exceptions.

  1. New Jersey students must have at least one faculty mentor to supervise PSAs, such as a teacher, SADD coordinator, guidance counselor, school nurse, SAC, or an administrator. School-aged youth who are in nontraditional educational environments, or local youth groups, may also submit, provided they have similar mentorship.
  2. Each student, or team of students, is permitted to submit an entry in one of the three categories. Each PSA submission must be approved by a Faculty member. Each school is allowed multiple entries if there are multiple students or groups that wish to enter a PSA.
  3. All students and teams wishing to submit an entry into the contest must submit an online application form on or before April 21, 2022.
    • If students are working in a group, please select one student to be the representative of the group. You only need to fill in one application with this student’s name and information. There is space on the application to enter the other key students in the group.
  4. General Messaging Guidelines:
    • Inclusion of the 2nd Floor Youth Helpline, 888-222-2228, in the PSA is required. If the main message of the PSA does not include this hotline name and number, that submission will be excluded. Please visit 2ndfloor.org for more information.
    • Provide accurate and factual information about mental health and suicide using reliable resources.
    • Identify a suicide prevention message that is simple and clear.
    • Promote hope and recovery, such as “You Are Not Alone” or “Friends Help Friends”.
    • Include positive messaging – action steps the audience can take.
    • Create a slogan and image that will be memorable.
    • Use images that show the whole person, including strength and resiliency.
    • Please refer to the following websites for guidelines on effective and safe messaging:
    • It is okay to talk about feelings, and it’s ok to use the word suicide, HOWEVER:
      • Do not display any images/video, etc., that explicitly show self-harm behaviors (for example, no guns, knives, etc., or allusions to such.) Entries showing youth engaging in suicidal behavior (for example, swallowing pills) will be excluded.
      • No explicit discussion of specific suicidal behaviors will be accepted.
      • Don’t sensationalize or romanticize suicide.
      • Do not use images of individuals holding their heads. These images have been categorized as “head-clutchers”. These images promote a negative stereotype of someone who is in distress. Keep in mind that someone who is hurting does not look depressed all the time. For more information on this, please visit: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
  5. Content of Messaging:
    • Here are some options for ways to gear your submission:
      • Messages of Hope: Avoid messages of, “don’t worry, everything will be ok”. Rather focus on messages that will resonate with someone who is hurting, in a way that validates and acknowledges their distress and offers positive support.
      • Help-Seeking Behavior
    • If you would like to view entries from past campaigns from the SPTS PSA contest please visit https://psa.sptsusa.org/.
  6. Short Film Submissions (60 Seconds)
    • Entries should be of high audio and high-definition video quality so that they may be broadcasted on TV. Applicants may wish to check local TV stations for guidelines. Please be sure that your final submission is in mp4 (video) format. Also videos should adhere to 16:9 proportions.
    • Please follow all copyright rules regarding music and images. Any submission containing copy written music or imagery will be excluded.
    • Do not include school and/or student’s names in the film and audio. Fake character names are acceptable.
    • Short Video submissions should be no longer than 60 seconds in length, but no shorter than 50 seconds. DO NOT have any introductory images, such as the name of the video, or concluding credits at the end of the video. If you wish to submit a second version including this information with your entry, you may do so, but please note which file is the final submission.
  7. Poster Submissions
    • All posters need to be computer generated, submitted in, .jpg, .tif, .pdf, etc., and need to be print ready (300 DPI or higher). Please submit two files of the same poster; one with a dimension of 24” x 36” and the other 18” x 24”.
      • Due to the high number of submissions, we can no longer convert hand-drawn images to digital images for students. Therefore, hard copies of hand-drawn posters will not be accepted. While we understand that may limit some students’ ability to submit a poster for this contest, our experience has been that hand-drawn posters do not fare well during the public voting phase. ii. However, it is fully acceptable to hand draw an image and then SCAN them into the proper file formats. It is also possible to hand draw the graphics, scan the image, and then digitally print the message over the scanned image. As long as the submitted product is sufficiently able to go directly to the printer as is, it will be accepted. We encourage students with great artistic abilities to partner with students with strong digital media abilities!
    • It is possible that winning posters will be framed. Because of this, please allow a margin of 2” for all text.
  8. Social Media Video Submissions
    • a) Entries for this category should be filmed by a cell phone and through a video social media platform such as Tik Tok or Instagram Reels. These short videos should be filmed with the intent to post to these platforms. Social media videos should be filmed vertically. Please be sure that your final submission is in mp4 (video) format.
    • b) Do not include school and/or student names in the video and audio. Fake character names are acceptable.
    • c) Social Media Video submissions should be no longer than 30 seconds in length. DO NOT include introductory images, such as the name of the video, or concluding credits at the end of the video. Tik Tok and Reel posts can include music and sounds that the platform includes and allows.
  9. Submitting Your Finished PSA:
    • All PSA entries must be submitted through Dropbox, regardless of PSA category. Please follow these steps for submission:
      • Complete the application entry form on or before April 21, 2023.Title your PSA using the following format: FullName_School_Category.file-type For example: JohnSmith_ParkSchool_VideoPSA.mp4
  10. You MUST adhere to these submission rules and requests. If any of the above criteria are not met, we will not be able to accept your submission.
  11. PSA Contest winners
    • The winners of each category will be selected by averaging their placements from the SPTS internal voting and Public voting for each entry. Click here for a detailed description of the voting process. The winners of each category will be selected by averaging their placements from the SPTS Committee internal voting and Public voting for each entry. The top two entries in each category will be recognized at the May 21st Blue Claws game, and the entries will be shown during the game on the jumbotron. All participants that won categories will be invited to the game free of charge as guests of SPTS.
  12. Additional Information
    • It is important to run your ideas by someone you trust (like your school advisor). Sometimes the message you think you are sending isn’t the one that the viewer is receiving.
    • Please reach out if you have any questions. We are willing to offer feedback on your PSA if you would like, however please keep in mind that as the date for submission approaches, we may not have the availability to offer any input. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected].
  13. Contest Timeline:
    • PSA Contest Launch – March 1, 2023
    • Entry Application Due – April 21, 2023
    • Submissions Due – 11:59 pm EST, May 1, 2023
    • SPTS Committee Voting – Early May, 2023
    • Public Voting – May 2023, exact dates to be announced
    • Winners Notified – May 15, 2023
    • Winners Honored – May 21, 2023 (Winners will be recognized via social media an at the Blue Claws Game)