ABC's eight owned TV stations will air mental health-related content and hold community events throughout May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, including streamed and on-air town halls.
The centerpiece of the initiative will be the stations' participation in the first Mental Health Action Day May 20.
WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham will kick off the campaign with a half-hour special, “Eyewitness News Investigates: The Silent Struggle,” May 6, followed by a stream-only town hall available on WTVD's free app and connected TVs.
Other content includes reports on WABC-TV New York on the impact on mental health of COVID-19 and the increase in opioid-related deaths; a special episode of WLS-TV Chicago weekend public affairs program, Our Chicago, featuring mental health experts talking about the impact of racism; KGO-TV San Francisco will broadcast town halls, including one during its 4 p.m. newscast May 20.
Better mental health treatment and information has been a big issue for the National Association of Broadcasters and its president, former Oregon senator Gordon Smith, whose son, Garrett, struggled with mental health issues and whose death ultimately led to passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act funding suicide prevention efforts, particularly among young people.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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