MTV Entertainment Group (MTVE) announced the launch of a new multi-year initiative, “Mental Health is Health,” to tackle the nation’s growing mental health crisis.
The campaign will use the power of storytelling to de-stigmatize mental health and drive behavioral and cultural change. MTVE commits to doubling the number of mental health storylines across its portfolio of over 100 television shows, while working with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to ensure that all portrayals are authentic and nuanced.
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A recent MTV study found that 92% of adults believe it is important to highlight mental health in entertainment, yet a 2019 USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study found that only 7 percent of TV characters in the top 100 top-rated TV shows experience a mental health condition, many of which are not positive.
“We all know the power of storytelling and how narrative can frame the way we look at an issue, which is why we’re doing our part to reimagine the role that content can play to demystify and de-stigmatize mental health, because it’s a crisis that’s rapidly on the rise and not enough people are talking about,” said Chris McCarthy, president of MTVE.
“The sooner we all start to realize that it’s something that impacts all of us, we can begin to help ourselves and others; it’s really about creating a bigger conversation that leads to systematic change that becomes the norm and I’m confident that we can help spark this change,” McCarthy said.
With “Mental Health is Health,” MTV aims to continue the success of previous campaigns such as “Get Yourself Tested,” which helped increase STD testing 51 percent, and the TV show “16 & Pregnant,” which helped drive a nationwide decline in teen births.
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