MTV Entertainment Studios today announced that USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative will become the long-term home of the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative. The effort was spearheaded last year by MTVE, who brought together a coalition of over 60 entertainment media companies and mental health expert organizations to raise awareness and change the narrative on mental health.
The Mental Health Storytelling Initiative will live as an independent project of the USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which will manage its day-to-day programming and resources. The Inclusion Initiative will also conduct an MTVE-funded study to measure the impact of the Mental Health Media Guide. The Media Guide, an online tool introduced by the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative last year, is designed to help content creators develop authentic and nuanced mental health portrayals in entertainment. MTVE will continue to advise on the strategic direction of the Initiative and support efforts to further expand mental health storytelling across the industry.
“One year after we spearheaded the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative and introduced the Mental Health Media Guide, both of which were inspired by our research with Dr. Stacy L. Smith and USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, we’re excited to build on our partnership as we transition the Initiative to its permanent home within the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,” said Chris McCarthy, President/CEO, Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios. “Given the immense power of storytelling to shape the norms around mental health, it is critical that our creative process is informed by the scientific understanding of what should be avoided and what works best.”
“The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is thrilled to be the home of the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative. When paired with our ongoing research work into representations of mental health, the Storytelling Initiative brings a strong advocacy focus with the ability to create real change,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founder, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “We are grateful to MTV Entertainment for their support of our work and this program, and look forward to working with the existing Coalition members to grow and advance our joint efforts.”
The Mental Health Storytelling Initiative participants inlclude the Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount and Endeavor Content, among others.