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Several Hollywood stars and top companies are joining forces with the mental health expert community and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to hold virtual conversations with visionaries and thought leaders across TV, film and music as part of a three-day virtual summit tied to Mental Health Awareness Month.
MTV Entertainment Group, ViacomCBS, The Walt Disney Co., Amazon Studios, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Endeavor Content and other companies are taking part in what’s being called Better Together: Mental Health Storytelling Summit, which is set for May 3-5.
In addition, a slew of talent is set to take part, including Kenya Barris, Rachel Bloom, Liz Brixius, Margaret Cho, Andy Cohen, Charlamagne tha God, David Collins, Alex Gansa, Regina Hall, Hill Harper, H.E.R., Michael Imperioli, Lisa Ling, Nika King, Delroy Lindo, Chuck Lorre, Romany Malco, Miguel, DJ Nash, Sheila Nevins, Trevor Noah, Tig Notaro, Kevin Powell, Phor & Puma and Ally Sheedy.
The summit is part of MTV Entertainment Group’s Mental Health Is Health initiative, which brings together companies committed to expanding portrayals of mental health in entertainment. The summit aims to “galvanize an industry-wide movement, empowering content creators to expand portrayals of mental health that encourage viewers to speak up and get help.”
Organizers emphasized the need for positive mental health portrayals, noting that suicide rates have been increasing particularly among young adults over the past two decades. They also say the pandemic has accelerated the crisis, with nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults saying their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Each day of the summit will focus on a different facet of content, featuring talent, creatives, experts, viewers and other leaders taking content creators through a journey that illuminates how to harness the power of stories to expand representation of mental health and, ultimately, redefine how we support ourselves and others.
In addition to the aforementioned companies, the Industry Advisory Council includes Anonymous Content, AwesomenessTV, BET, CAA Foundation, CBS, CMT, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Spotify, Start, The Ad Council, UTA Foundation, VH1 and WarnerMedia.
The production partner on the event is VIVA Creative, with Ri-Karlo Handy of Sunwise Media exec producing.
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