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 led last year by MTVE, which brought together a coalition of more than 60 entertainment media companies and mental health expert organizations to raise awareness and change the discourse on mental health.
The Mental Health Storytelling Initiative will operate as an independent project of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which will manage its day-to-day programs and resources. The Inclusion Initiative will also conduct a study funded by MTVE to measure the impact of the Media Guide on mental health. 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 portrayals of mental health in entertainment. MTVE will continue to advise on the strategic direction of the Initiative and support efforts to further expand the mental health storytelling in the industry.
“One year after launching the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative and introducing the Mental Health Media Guide, both inspired by our research with Dr. Stacy L. Smith and USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, we are excited to strengthen our partnership as we move the Initiative to its permanent home within the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,” said Chris McCarthy, President and CEO, Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios. “Given the immense power of storytelling to shape norms in mental health, it’s critical that our creative process is informed by scientific understanding of what should be avoided and what works best.”
“The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is delighted to be home to the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative. When combined with our ongoing research on representations of mental health, the Storytelling Initiative puts the focus on advocacy 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 we look forward to working with current members of the Coalition to develop and advance our joint efforts.”
Participants in the Mental Health Storytelling Initiative include The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount, and Endeavor Content, among others.