Initiative aims to empower young people to use storytelling to address the mental health crisis, driving them to take actions to help themselves and support others
New York, NY–October 13,2021 — More than 18 months into COVID-19 and amidst a mental health crisis, The Jed Foundation today announced that it, along with 17 leading mental health nonprofits, will be part of MTV Entertainment Group’s first convening to empower young people to drive culture from awareness to action on mental health through storytelling and media. Senior officials from the Biden-Harris Administration, including from the Department of Health and Human Services, are expected to speak during the Forum in early 2022, which will culminate with a White House event.
“We’re proud to be a part of this convening and applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and MTV Entertainment for prioritizing teen and young adult mental health,” said John MacPhee, CEO of The Jed Foundation (JED). “It is more critical than ever to center young people, including their stories and experiences, in the effort to create strong communities of care that promote and protect mental health and well-being.”
“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the mental health of young Americans, especially in communities where resources are thin. Though mental health gets discussed globally, we still have work to do to ensure everyone in America is heard and knows where to find help. This forum will help reach young people where they are, through the communication channels they already know,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“America’s young people have faced an unprecedented amount of uncertainty and disruption during the last 18 months, and we need to ensure they have the support and help they need to move forward,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph. D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “We hope this forum will help bring their crucial voices to the nationwide mental health conversation.”
“As the rise of mental health issues have created a second pandemic, especially among young people, MTV Entertainment convened a coalition of entertainment leaders and mental health experts to harness the power of storytelling with the goal of ending the stigma surrounding mental health.” said Chris McCarthy, President and CEO, MTV Entertainment Group. “In coordination with the Biden-Harris administration and an impressive coalition of leading mental health nonprofits, we are going a step further and empowering young people to use storytelling to share their powerful voices and diverse experiences through media to help themselves and support others.”
Other nonprofit partners include:
The AAKOMA Project
Asian Mental Health Collective
Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation
Born This Way Foundation
Bring Change to Mind
The Jed Foundation
Mental Wealth Alliance
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
Student Veterans of America
The Trevor Project
The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health
Vibrant Emotional Health
We R Native
Over the past two decades, mental health struggles have risen dramatically, especially among young adults. Accelerated by the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial injustices and trauma of the last year, the mental health crisis has been called a “second pandemic” by some experts. Although mental health awareness has increased, young people still need help taking actions to support their own or their loved ones’ emotional wellbeing. In response, The Jed Foundation is proud to join with MTV Entertainment Group to engage young people from across the United States to employ their creative expertise and direct knowledge of their peers to help drive their communities to take mental health actions.
Following a two-day forum in Washington, D.C., participants will be invited to present their ideas at a White House event to a diverse audience of media and technology professionals, government officials, and nonprofit executives to help inform future creative public health campaigns related to mental health.
Participants will work with nonprofit stakeholders and industry professionals to develop creative ideas that will:
- Inspire young people to take actions to improve their everyday mental health;
- Encourage young people to support their peers and check in on each other; or
- Help make young people more aware of the crisis services available to them.
Leveraging its decades-long history of sparking conversations about mental health, in May 2021 MTV Entertainment Group launched Mental Health is Health, a multi-year initiative to tackle the nation’s growing health crisis by harnessing the power of storytelling to normalize mental health conversations and inspire action. MTVE convened a coalition of entertainment media companies and mental health experts for the Better Together Mental Health Storytelling Summit during which the Coalition unveiled The Mental Health Media Guide, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive resource for content creators designed to elevate storytelling opportunities that can change the narrative on mental health. Building on its legacy of bringing companies and organizations together to create social change, MTVE spearheaded Mental Health Action Day, an open-source global movement to shift culture from awareness to action. More than 1,400 organizations, brands, government agencies and cultural leaders participated in the inaugural event, which focused on driving people to get the mental health support they need.
If you know someone who may be interested in participating in this event, MTV Entertainment is accepting applications here through November 15, 2021.
About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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