NEW YORK, NY – October 10, 2019 – On World Mental Health Day, Comedy Central, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a program of the National Council for Behavioral Health, today premiered its Be The Difference public service announcement (PSA) featuring Jeff Ross, Matteo Lane and Yamaneika Saunders. The spot is the initial step in Comedy Central’s first long-term social impact campaign that will focus on driving culture change on mental health. Working with its launch partners, Comedy Central will integrate the campaign across all brand platforms, including linear series, social content and live events, with the goal of making emotional health as important as physical health.
In addition to the PSA, Comedy Central employees will be signing up for Mental Health First Aid at Work, which teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health issue. This is a step in Comedy Central’s commitment to creating comedic content for the Be the Difference social impact campaign that aims to educate and raise awareness about mental health issues.
“Mental illness affects everyone, including the funniest people you know. None of us are immune from experiencing a mental health crisis or from helping someone we care about in a crisis,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Comedy Central Vice President of Social Impact. “Comedy Central drives the cultural conversation by revealing the funny truth about whatever is happening in life. Through comedy we have the power to change the way people think and act and we will work diligently as a brand moving forward in order to drive mental health culture change.”
“We know it’s hard to talk about your mental health and ask for help,” said Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “That’s why Mental Health First Aid is so valuable. It gives you permission and the tools to have those difficult conversations, support people around you and get the help you or they might need.”
Americans experience high rates of mental illness, as one in five Americans experience it each year. Additionally, of the six in 10 people who experience a mental health crisis, only one in 10 seek treatment. The stigma associated with mental health is one of the reasons for Americans not seeking treatment. Comedy Central and MHFA aim to address this and change the conversation around mental health, destigmatize mental illnesses and encourage people to get help if needed.
The brands previously partnered at the Comedy Central Presents Clusterfest comedy festival this summer with a special panel, “Comedy and Mental Health: A Hilarious Conversation,” that featured comedians Neal Brennan, Michelle Buteau, Tig Notaro and Jeff Ross. In addition, festival goers experienced a “Festival of Friendship” activation encouraging people to learn more about Mental Health First Aid and how to #BeTheDifference in helping friends during a mental health or substance-use problem.
About Comedy Central
Available on-air, online and on the go, Comedy Central gives viewers access to a world of super funny, provocative and relevant comedy that tell the funny truths of life, every day and everywhere. From award-winning late-night, scripted and animated series to stand-up specials, short-form and sketch, Comedy Central has it all. A subsidiary of Viacom Inc., Comedy Central is available to more than 300 million households in over 150 countries across the globe. For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit Comedy Central’s press site at press.cc.com and follow us on Twitter @ComedyCentralPR for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.
About Mental Health First Aid
The course teaches people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives participants the skills to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. The National Council for Behavioral Health introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and to date more than 2 million Americans have been trained. For more information, please go towww.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.
About The National Council for Behavioral Health
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2 million Americans have been trained. For more information, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org.