The National Association of Broadcasters is producing a new public service announcement campaign to promote mental health.
It is a subject close to the heart of NAB president and former senator Gordon Smith, who lost a son to suicide and has since become an active advocate for getting help for those with mental illness, as well as removing the stigma from needing such help.
At a White House conference on the subject Monday, president Obama saluted the campaign and Smith's advocacy.
"We wouldn't accept it if only 40 percent of Americans with cancer got treatment. We wouldn't accept it if only half of young people with diabetes got help. Then why should we accept it when it comes to mental health?" the president said at the conference. "But the good news is there are plenty of groups that are stepping up to change that...Today the National Association of Broadcasters is announcing a new campaign designed to change attitudes about mental illness through TV ads and social media because Gordon does not want other parents to go through the agonizing loss that he's endured. So we thank you, Gordon, for that great work."
That praise came on the same day that NAB's Education Foundation is celebrating its Service to America Awards. Last year's award for Service to America Leadership went to actress Glenn Close, who also watched a family member suffer, for her own campaign to remove the stigma from mental illness.
The PSA's are in the midst of being produced and will likely be ready by mid-summer, according to an NAB spokesperson.
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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.