Entertainment & Content

Healing Power of Storytelling for Mental Wellness

Overview A contingent of leading media companies, mental health experts and other organizations have formed the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition to change the narrative on mental health. Explore how storytelling can be a force for nurturing mental well-being.

Business cares, and leaders from many are taking steps to raise mental-health awareness and show the role storytelling can play in addressing the nation’s mental-health crisis. Concerned professionals from MTV Entertainment Group, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, and numerous media companies and mental health organizations have formed the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition.

The coalition, which will kick off at the Mental Health Storytelling Summit during the first week of May, comprises entertainment giants including CES® veterans and partners such as United Talent Agency Foundation, CES 2020 keynote company NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Amazon Studios, Spotify and more.

“How mental health is portrayed in film, television and other popular media deeply impacts the public discourse about and perceptions of people with mental illness," said Glenn O'Neal, chief communication officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We’re proud to collaborate on this project so that the diverse experiences of people with mental health conditions are accurately represented, reducing stigma and discrimination.”

The entertainment industry, and storytelling at large, can play a key role in changing the conversation about mental wellness and suicide prevention.


Shattering Stigmas and Ending the Silence

Negative social and self-perceived stigmas about mental conditions are among the leading risk factors contributing to delays in treatment and poor mental health outcomes for those with mental illnesses.

Beyond traditional education about the topic, showing the realities of mental illnesses and accurately portraying people with mental illnesses can help combat these stigmas. They can do so by allowing audiences to better understand and connect with these experiences to view them as normal.

“Through its portrayal of people with mental health and addiction challenges, the entertainment industry plays an enormous role in how the public perceives people living with these conditions," said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Sharing stories about mental health or substance use challenges is an important step toward improving the public’s understanding and reducing the stigma real people with these conditions face every day.”


Sharing Hope and Finding Recovery

In the entertainment industry and beyond, stories about mental health challenges can help people living with mental health conditions know that they are not alone. It can also help in their own recovery, while offering encouragement and support to others with similar experiences.

Portraying everyday people with mental health challenges, being proactive in caring for their mental well-being, can improve wider perceptions. Coalition participants believe that showing demonstrations of support and treatment can meaningfully advance a healthier culture and narrative around mental health. 

The Mental Health Storytelling Coalition encourages and empowers people to seek support and tell their story, aiming to shift conversations around mental health and well-being.

Join us May 3-6 at the Technology and Standards Spring Forum, hosted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, to explore how the acceleration of technology is providing solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Sessions include Mental Health and the Virtual Care Evolution, discussing the evolution of technology addressing mental care and additional opportunities for the development of guidelines related to the monitoring, treatment and diagnosis of mental health and wellness.

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