Washington - Jun 3, 2013 - NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith took part in the White House's National Conference on Mental Health, the administration's effort to launch a national conversation to increase understanding and awareness about mental health. President Barack Obama opened the event, and applauded broadcasters for their meaningful role in educating the public on mental health issues.
"Even though three-quarters of mental illnesses emerge by the age of 24, only about half of children with mental health problems receive treatment," President Barack Obama said to a room full of legislators, reporters and mental health advocates. "Now think about it. We wouldn't accept it if only 40 percent of Americans with cancers got treatment. We wouldn't accept it if only half of young people with diabetes got help. Why should we accept it when it comes to mental health? Doesn't make any sense. But the good news is, there are plenty of groups that are stepping up to change that. So a former colleague of mine, Gordon Smith, a former Republican senator who lost his son to suicide 10 years ago -- and I remember him speaking so eloquently about it -- Gordon is now the head of the National Association of Broadcasters, and today the National Association of Broadcasters is announcing a new campaign designed to change attitudes about mental illness through TV and radio ads and social media, because Gordon doesn't want other parents to go through the agonizing loss that he's endured. So we thank you, Gordon, for that great work."
Smith participated in a panel discussion moderated by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of The Department of Health and Human Services. The panel also featured actress Glenn Close, founder of Bring Change 2 Mind; Barbara van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour; Janelle Montano, public speaker, Active Minds; and Norman Anderson, Ph.D., CEO, American Psychology Association.
As part of the panel, Smith announced that America's broadcasters will use the power of our broadcast megaphone to educate all Americans on mental health.
Consistent with conversations held between Smith, Vice President Joe Biden and other broadcasters following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NAB is currently developing a multiplatform, nationwide campaign to raise awareness and combat misperceptions surrounding mental illness, particularly among young adults. The NAB hopes to amplify the dialog about mental illness and create a platform to facilitate the conversation.
Both Secretary Sebelius and Glenn Close publicly applauded broadcasters for these efforts at the event.
NAB is working closely with the White House, mental health groups, the Entertainment Industries Council and other partners to ensure our campaign is on target and effective. The campaign will include TV and radio spots, Web video, banner ads and a large social media platform.
The final radio and television spots will be available in English and Spanish and ready for stations to download the last week of July 2013. The NAB is also working on a plan to reach secondary schools, providing them with video elements and resources to share in classrooms through SchoolTube and other partners.
In addition to the on-air and online campaign that will launch this summer, the NAB has been working with the Entertainment Industries Council to provide resources aimed at helping media and entertainment professionals accurately portray individuals living with mental health challenges. These resources for entertainment creators and journalists are available online. Resources include tips on interviewing people living with mental illness, story ideas and entertainment depiction suggestions.
"Broadcasters have a powerful voice in this country," said Smith. "We use it to inform, entertain and educate. We feel that mental health is a critical issue that impacts all Americans, and we appreciate the administration's support as we move forward with a campaign to shine a spotlight on this largely misunderstood public health issue."