MTV Entertainment Launches Initiative To Boost Accurate, Positive On-Screen Portrayals Of Mental Health Conditions


MTV Entertainment Group seeks to normalize discussions and accurate portrayals of mental health conditions by launching the multi-year initiative Mental Health is Health.

A study conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that only 7%  of TV characters in 100 top-rated titles experienced a mental health condition, and that many portrayals were not positive. In 2020 MTV Entertainment Group commissioned the Annenberg Initiative to study mental health representation across both its scripted and unscripted programming slates.

MTVE, which has previously opened up the conversation about mental health in previous coverage, events and titles including The Real World, has committed to the following:

  • 2X the number of mental health storylines that represent the diversity of our audiences and their mental health experiences
  • Ensure that mental health storylines in all the 100+ shows in the portfolio are portrayed in an authentic and nuanced way
  • Provide training for all content creators, from writer’s rooms to showrunners to all external production partners.

“We all know the power of storytelling and how narrative can frame the way we look at an issue, which is why we’re doing our part to reimagine the role that content can play to demystify and destigmatize mental health, because it’s a crisis that’s rapidly on the rise and not enough people are talking about.” said Chris McCarthy, President of MTV Entertainment Group. “The sooner we all start to realize that it’s something that impacts all of us, we can begin to help ourselves and others; it’s really about creating a bigger conversation that leads to systematic change that becomes the norm and I’m confident that we can help spark this change.”

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