White House Holds Mental Health Roundtable with Entertainment Industry Leaders to Help Normalize Mental Health Conversations

Leaders and experts from On Our Sleeves, The Jed Foundation, Hollywood Committee, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and JWB led discussion tied to World Mental Health Day to help develop impactful mental health storylines in film and series content

WASHINGTON, DC (October 13, 2023)The On Our Sleeves Movement For Children’s Mental Health, The Jed Foundation (JED), the Hollywood Committee, Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB), and USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Mental Health Storytelling Coalition today held a mental health roundtable at the White House in conjunction with World Mental Health Day, which was earlier this week on Oct. 10. The event brought together leaders from throughout the entertainment industry to meet with expert mental health clinicians, leading advocates, and representatives from the Biden Administration for a discussion focused on reducing stigmas, normalizing the conversation, and raising awareness about mental health through film and series content.

The roundtable served as an important opportunity for mental health experts to share key insights from clinical and expert work with youth and adults that can inform entertainment content, identify priorities in the youth mental health landscape, and provide research and tools writers and industry leaders can draw upon to create stories that have the power to positively impact youth. The discussion also covered the ways in which parents and caregivers can hold conversations with children when there are tragic events unfolding in the news that they may learn about at school or online.

Neera Tanden, Domestic Policy Advisor to President Biden, and Stephen Benjamin Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement joined On Our Sleeves Executive Clinical Director Dr. Ariana Hoet, Chief of Psychology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dr. Eric Butter, JED Chief Medical Officer Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth, the American Institutes for Research’s David Osher, JWB Chief Executive Officer Beth Houghton , and the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative’s Ashley Kolaya for a roundtable with entertainment industry leaders including: writer and showrunner David Shore; actor Freddie Highmore; actor and singer Joely Fisher; actor and author Kal Penn; playwright and television producer/creator Katori Hall; actor, comedian, and producer Lisa Ann Walter; actor and director Mädchen Amick; producer Michael Costigan; director and writer Millicent Shelton; writer and producer Shawn Ryan; and writer and author Tracy McMillan.

The roundtable served as an important opportunity for mental health experts to share key insights from clinical and expert work with youth and adults that can inform entertainment content, priorities in the youth mental health landscape, and provide research and tools writers and industry leaders can draw upon to create stories that have the power to positively impact youth.

“For many caregivers, film and series content can provide critical exposure to issues surrounding children’s mental health, helping educate them about what how mental health shows up in children and habits and behaviors they can use to support and promote their mental health,” said Dr. Ariana Hoet, Executive Clinical Director of On Our Sleeves. “We’re so thankful to the White House for hosting this roundtable to help equip the entertainment industry with the information they need to write storylines that accurately portray issues of children’s mental health.”

“Stories have the power to shape the way young people see themselves, their communities, and their futures,” said Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth, Chief Medical Officer of The Jed Foundation. “We’re proud to be a part of this convening and ongoing campaign, and applaud the White House, The Hollywood Committee, and our partners for prioritizing teen and young adult mental health.”

“The Hollywood Committee is thankful for the Biden Administration’s commitment to mental health and our partners at the roundtable. We are especially grateful to On Our Sleeves for their outstanding support in bringing us all together.” said Robert Disney, with the Hollywood Committee. “We accomplished a great deal. We’re eager to take what we’ve learned and apply it to a sustained campaign that both entertains and encourages audiences to be proactive in their approach to mental health.”

“Eighty percent of a child’s brain is developed by age three, so parents as  their children’s first and best teachers play a vital role” said Beth Houghton, CEO of JWB.  “Parents’ attentive interactions with their babies and toddlers provide a strong platform for their children’s lifelong learning, development and mental health. JWB is honored to join this important conversation.”

“We know entertainment media and storytelling can have a major impact on the way we perceive mental health, how we talk about it, and our propensity to seek help and help others,” said Ashley Kolaya of the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition. “The organizations and storytellers here today are doing powerful, collaborative work to change the narrative around mental health, and our Coalition is thrilled that the White House is amplifying that work.”

The roundtable was organized by the Hollywood Committee alongside partners On Our Sleeves and The Jed Foundation.


Children don’t wear their thoughts on their sleeves. With 1 in 5 children living with a significant mental health concern and half of all lifetime mental health concerns starting by age 14, we need to give them a voice. The On Our Sleeves Movement For Children’s Mental Health, created by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of the United States’ largest network of pediatric behavioral health treatment providers and researchers, is on a mission to give expert-created resources to all U.S. communities so everyone can understand and promote mental health for children. Our vision is to build a world where mental health is a part of the upbringing of every single child. Nearly 1,000 mental health professionals and researchers at Nationwide Children’s, in partnership with other trusted experts, provide their real-world knowledge and expertise to power On Our Sleeves. Since the inception of On Our Sleeves in 2018, more than 6 million people in every state across the United States has interacted with the movement’s free pediatric mental health education resources at OnOurSleeves.org.


JED is a leading 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.

Connect with JED: Email | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn | Snapchat | Pinterest


Created and led by TV & film creative professionals, the Hollywood Committee is a nonprofit dedicated to using the power of storytelling to move our nation towards a safer and more just future for all.


For 75 years, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) has been investing in the futures of children to strengthen our community. Governed by an 11-member Board and driven by data, JWB ensures children are ready to learn, ready to succeed, and ready to thrive in homes, schools, and neighborhoods that are healthy and safe. In FY21, JWB and our partners served more than 58,000 children and families through 85 programs with 55 nonprofit agencies. Plus, collective efforts to address childhood hunger, grade-level reading, and preventable child deaths served thousands more. Learn more at:  www.jwbpinellas.org/childrens-mental-health


In an unprecedented multi-sector partnership, housed at USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, more than 70 leading entertainment industry partners and mental health expert organizations have joined forces to develop and amplify the Mental Health Media Guide, a groundbreaking, comprehensive resource for content creators designed to help expand positive mental health portrayals, with an eye toward increasing diverse, authentic, and nuanced portrayals of mental health in entertainment.

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