Entertainment and Media Launch National Campaign to Encourage Accurate Storytelling on Mental Health

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Entertainment Industries Council, National Association of Broadcasters and others unite to decrease discrimination, increase help-seeking behavior and inform mass audiences through expanded media resources on mental health storytelling

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The collective power of communication and media engagement continues to be crucial to building a better understanding that mental illness is like any other illness and needs to be discussed and treated... -- U.S Representative Grace Napolitano, (D-CA)

In the spirit of President Barack Obama’s elevation of mental health today as a top priority, the National Association of Broadcasters, Entertainment Industries Council Inc. and California Mental Health Services Authority have teamed up to provide resources aimed at helping media and entertainment professionals to create accurate portrayals of individuals living with mental health challenges.

English and Spanish-language resources for entertainment creators and journalists announced at the White House National Mental Health Conference (http://www.whitehouse.gov/live) 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 available at http://www.eiconline.org/teamup/. The National Association of Broadcasters is working with member television and radio stations to amplify the TEAM Up message through nationally distributed public service announcements addressing mental health in America.

“Media companies have the potential to positively impact communities, families and individual lives by advancing the conversation around mental health and suicide prevention,” said Gordon Smith, President of the National Association of Broadcasters. "NAB will help educate broadcasters on this initiative, and we encourage local radio and TV stations and our network partners to adopt the suggested TEAM Up guidelines and resources to raise national and cultural awareness about these important issues," Smith said.

“We are beginning to make strides on mental health, but we must continue to educate our friends, families, and colleagues on this critical issue and eliminate stigma to let those suffering know that it is always okay to seek help,” U.S Representative Grace Napolitano, (D-CA) said. “As part of May Mental Health Awareness Month and throughout the year, I have worked with my colleagues to host congressional briefings on children’s mental health, veterans’ mental health, and suicide prevention. I have also supported and sponsored legislation to better address the mental health needs of adolescents, children, minorities, and seniors. The collective power of communication and media engagement continues to be crucial to building a better understanding that mental illness is like any other illness and needs to be discussed and treated; TEAM Up can provide this necessary change. These Spanish language news media resources will have a strong positive effect in Latino communities in California and across the nation,” she continued.

“Media and entertainment professionals can play a significant role in the public’s understanding of mental health. Inaccurate portrayals of individuals living with mental illness can fuel misconceptions that could lead to subsequent discrimination and deter individuals from seeking help for mental health challenges. TEAM Up resources will help change the conversation. We need to break down stereotypes that exist to encourage people to take control of their health and personal well-being to broaden the conversation around not only mental wellness, but also overall physical wellness, because it is all interconnected. Our collaborations with California Mental Health Services Authority, Univision and now the National Association of Broadcasters are just the beginning of making a difference through media,” said Brian Dyak, President & CEO, Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

“One in four U.S. adults experiences a mental health disorder in a given year, while only 25 percent of those people will get the help they need. This is especially true in Latino communities where people tend to keep their personal lives private due to cultural factors, immigration status or concerns about the family’s reputation. The media can play a tremendous role to help change those attitudes. The Spanish and English language materials released today can help the media play a part in reducing the stigma of mental illness, which prevents people from seeking help,” said California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

“The facts are clear: Prevention and Early Intervention programs make a life-saving difference—giving teens and families the tools to reduce suicide, breaking down social and cultural barriers that deter people from getting help, and connecting young people with resources to help with the most challenging time in their lives. These TEAM Up resources can help the Spanish language media play an important role in prevention and early intervention,” commented Dr. Wayne Clark, president, California Mental Health Services Authority.

TEAM Up resources are centered on the tenet of communicating about the entire person as someone with a disorder not as a person defined by a disorder.

About Entertainment Industries Council

EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by leaders within the entertainment industry to bring their power and influence to bear on communication about health and social issues. This mission relies on providing resource information to the creative community and culminates in recognition of the industry through the national television special PRISM Awards Showcase which addresses accurate portrayals of substance use issues and mental health concerns. The organization also produces the S.E.T Awards, honoring positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of science, engineering and technology. For a complete list of health and social issues addressed by EIC and local projects please visit First Draft and EIC’s website.

EIC’s web site is http://www.eiconline.org. The PRISM Awards web site is http://www.prismawards.com.

About TEAM Up

EIC’s TEAM Up program is funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working together to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA operates services and education programs on a statewide, regional and local basis. For more information, visit http://www.calmhsa.org TEAM Up resources are available in English and Spanish at http://www.eiconline.org/teamup TEAM Up also includes extensive Twitter outreach to further drive the conversation, highlighting news stories that accurately depict mental health, sharing resources and events, and offering guidance on mental health storytelling. Follow @MediaTEAMUp.

About National Association of Broadcasters

The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at http://www.nab.org.

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