Washington, DC - Jul 23, 2013 - A survey from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) reveals that two-thirds of young adults have personal experience with mental health problems. Although the overwhelming majority of parents and young adults are supportive of discussing mental illness more openly, more than one-fourth of young adults (28 percent) and one in six parents (16 percent) admit they avoid talking about it.
To encourage these critical conversations and let people know that help is available and effective, the NAB unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign featuring teens and young adults opening up about their experiences with mental illness. The OK2TALK campaign includes television and radio ads in English and Spanish, and uses social media to invite teens and young adults to create the conversation about mental health.
"With unrivaled reach into homes across America, broadcasters have a powerful platform to encourage young people to start talking about mental health and get the help they need," said NAB President and CEO Gordon H. Smith.
Smith's own family has been affected by mental illness. His 22-year-old son, Garrett, took his own life in 2003, after a long struggle with depression. He and his wife, Sharon, hope that encouraging conversation about mental illness helps keep other families from meeting the same fate: "I believe that had we known better the signs of suicidal tendency, and sought help and treatment earlier for Garrett, our son would still be alive today."
Debuting on television and radio stations on July 25, 2013, the PSAs will direct people to OK2TALK.org, a Tumblr-based community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems can share their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. By inviting young people, their families and friends to add their voice by sharing creative content in a safe, moderated space, the campaign encourages an organic conversation about mental health created by those experiencing it. The site also includes resources for those seeking help.
OK2TALK was first announced at The White House last month as part of the National Conference on Mental Health, where the administration applauded the NAB's commitment to increase understanding and awareness of mental health. Building on the momentum created by the Conference, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Roy Blunt (MO) and Mental Health Caucus Chairs Reps. Tim Murphy (PA-18) and Grace Napolitano (CA-32) joined the NAB and its partners to unveil OK2TALK.
"When President Obama called for a national conversation on mental health this year, the National Association of Broadcasters stepped forward to launch this important campaign to let our young people know it is OK to talk about mental health and to find help when needed," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Mental health needs to be an issue we can talk about openly and freely without the fear of being judged. Thanks to the leadership of the NAB and organizations around the country, we are bringing mental health out of the shadows."
In addition to the thousands of broadcast stations who have committed air time and financial resources in support of OK2TALK, partners in the effort include: Active Minds, Bring Change 2 Mind, Each Mind Matters, Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), One Mind for Research and Tumblr. Partner contributions include visibility for the OK2TALK PSAs, promotion of OK2TALK.org, subject matter expertise and financial support. NAB also extends its appreciation to the Department of Health and Human Services for their support and guidance in the campaign.
Earlier this year, the NAB joined the EIC in launching TEAM Up, an online resource that brings together mental health experts, entertainment industry professionals and journalists whose purpose is to encourage deeper reporting and more accurate depictions of people living with mental illness.
The referenced survey was conducted online in the U.S. using the field services of Ipsos Observer from May 15 to June 1, 2013, on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters. Respondents were a nationally representative sample of young adults 18-24 (n=500) and parents of teens 13-17 (n=512). The margin of error for young adults is ±4.4% and ±4.3% for parents.
More info on OK2TALK is posted at nab.org/ok2talk.