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Mental Health Storytelling Summit Draws Entertainment Industry Talent

Better Together Mental Health Summit

The Better Together: Mental Health Storytelling Summit has drawn some A-list talent for its discussion of how to portray mental health in a way that encourages viewers to speak up and get help.

The virtual event will be held May 3 through May 5. 

The talent expected to participate includes Kenya Barris, Rachel Bloom, Liz Brixius, Margaret Cho, Andy Cohen, Charlamagne tha God, David Collins, Alex Gansa, Regina Hall, Hill Harper, H.E.R., Michael Imperioli, Lisa Ling, Nika King, Delroy Lindo, Chuck Lorre, Romany Malco, Miguel, DJ Nash, Sheila Nevins, Trevor Noah, Tig Notaro, Kevin Powell, Phor & Puma and Ally Sheedy.

The effort is backed by a wide swatch of media companies including MTV Entertainment Group and its parent ViacomCBS, The Walt Disney Company, Amazon Studios, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, WarnerMedia and Endeavor.

Over the past two decades, suicide rates have been increasing particularly among young adults -- and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an already dire crisis. Nearly 50% of U.S. adults said their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Each day of the summit will focus on a different facet of content and take content creators through a journey that illuminates how to harness the power of stories to expand representation of mental health and, ultimately, redefine how we support ourselves and others, the organizers said. 

The production partner for Better Together: Mental Health Storytelling Summit is VIVA Creative, known most recently for virtual production on the Oprah Conversations including the President Obama and Oprah Conversation with Ri-Karlo Handy of Sunwise Media serving as executive producer of the Summit.

Providing expertise to the event are mental health organization including the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Jed Foundation and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.