Better Together Summit Highlights the Power of the Entertainment Industry to Change the Narrative on Mental Health
As a part of the Mental Health is Health initiative, MTV Entertainment Group joined forces with a powerful coalition of entertainment companies and mental health experts to create the Better Together: Mental Health Storytelling Summit. The three-day virtual summit ran from May 3-5 and was designed to spark an industry-wide movement to expand portrayals of mental health in entertainment that encourage viewers to speak up and get help.
“Media has enormous influence over how we collectively perceive and understand the most difficult issues in our society,” said Bob Bakish, CEO of parent ViacomCBS. “The mental health crisis impacts people of all demographics and geographies, and as content creators, it’s our responsibility to use our assets – through our stories, platforms and reach – to take action.”
The summit addressed the impact of storytelling, with leading stars and content creators, including Trevor Noah, Kenya Barris, Rachel Bloom, Margaret Cho, Andy Cohen, Charlamagne tha God, Tig Notaro, Michael Imperioli, and H.E.R. Each day, discussing how they have used stories to change the narrative on mental health.
“”Make sure that you’re accurate… oftentimes people quote things or do things that are not necessarily accurate and that can potentially be harmful,” Black-ish creator Kenya Barris explained during the summit.”
Experts and several leading media companies came together to form the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition. Partners include Amazon Studios, Anonymous Content, AwesomenessTV, BET, CAA Foundation, CBS, CMT, Comedy Central, Endeavor Content, MTV, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, OWN, Paramount Pictures, SHOWTIME, Spotify, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz, Walt Disney Company, UTA Foundation, ViacomCBS, VH1, and Warner Media.
“Make sure that you’re accurate… oftentimes people quote things or do things that are not necessarily accurate and that can potentially be harmful,” Black-ish creator Kenya Barris explained during the summit. “It’s a responsibility you have when you’re dealing with (mental health storytelling) where there’s so much to learn. Make sure that you have actually done the research so that at least what you’re saying is based in some form of accuracy because people listen to television.”
When content connects viewers with effective resources, they can begin to take action to maintain and improve their mental health. After all, the hardest part of many people’s mental health journey is knowing where to begin and even the smallest first step can make all of the difference. By showcasing a diversity of mental health actions, entertainment media can empower viewers to take control of their emotional wellbeing.
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