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NAB Works on Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Broadcast lobby president takes part in White House National Conference on Mental Health

Mental health issues are getting more attention and as part of that, NAB is working with member radio and television stations to raise awareness through nationally distributed public service announcements addressing mental health in America.

The aim is to break down the stigma around mental health issues that prevent many people from seeking help. One in four American adults has a mental health disorder in a given year, while only 25% of those people will get the help they need, according to the latest statistics.

The President has elevated mental health as a priority, and as part of that effort, NAB, the Entertainment Industries Council Inc. and California Mental Health Services Authority have teamed up to provide resources aimed at helping media and entertainment professionals create accurate portrayals of individuals living with mental health issues.

The media, says NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith, has the potential to positively impact communities, families and individual lives “by advancing the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention.” NAB is working with the Entertainment Industries Council Bring Change 2 Mind, the Department of Health and Human Services and other mental health organizations to develop an awareness campaign that includes PSAs to be aired on stations beginning in late July.

Smith is also a panelist today at the White House National Conference on Mental Health. The head of the broadcast lobby has a personal connection to the issue, as Smith and his wife had a son, Garrett, who suffered from depression and killed himself just before he turned 22 some 10 years ago. The impact of mental illness on his family led the former Oregon senator to author youth suicide prevention legislation, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 2004.

“We wouldn’t accept if it only 40% of Americans with cancer got treatment,” said President Obama today. “We wouldn’t accept it if only half of young people with diabetes got help. So why should we accept it when it comes to mental health? It doesn’t make sense.” The president thanked Smith for both his and NAB’s work on the new campaign.

English and Spanish‐language resources for entertainment creators and journalists announced at the White House National Mental Health Conference are provided through the TEAM Up Tools for Entertainment and Media initiative. The toolkit and additional resources including tips on interviewing people living with mental illness, story ideas and entertainment depiction suggestions are here.