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Rhode Island Broadcasters Association Mental Health Awareness Campaign Sets Simulcast Unprecedented Broadcast

PROVIDENCE, RI- Rhode Island Broadcasters Association and the Rhode Island Governor's Office and its agencies and BH-LINK unveiled the launch of an unprecedented mental health awareness campaign and broadcast/social media special airing this Saturday evening, December 14th at 7:30pm. For the first time, reporters from ABC6/WLNE-TV, WJAR-NBC10, WPRI-CBS12, FOX PROVIDENCE and RI PBS have come together in this unique presentation to share stories of everyday Rhode Islanders who are dealing with mental health or substance use issues, who have found help and hope through statewide initiatives. The airing will also be heard on IHeart's WHJJ and WOON, among other member stations streaming it on their stations social media platforms.

"Here in Rhode Island, we're declaring loud and clear that it’s okay not to be okay," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "I'm proud to be Governor of a state where people come together to combat stigma and help our neighbors who may be struggling. I want to especially thank the Rhode Island Broadcasters for their partnership and support."

Local television and radio stations will air a locally produced, commercial-free half-hour special simultaneously and in-kind on Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. The conversation, led by Capitol TV’s Margie O’Brien, will continue on Rhode Island PBS from 8 to 8:30 p.m. The two specials and social media content is produced by Social Media and Content production company, Sociable! ( @trendsociably) who will provide resources for viewers and listeners, their loved ones and those caring for people with mental health and substance use issues. Following the broadcast special, the state will continue the dialogue with a long-term public awareness campaign through a PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAM (NCSA/.PEP) through the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association along with social media and video content produced by Sociable!

"It’s great to see policymakers focus on things like parity and increasing funding for treatment, but stigma still prevents far too many Rhode Islanders from seeking help for mental and behavioral health challenges," said First Gentleman Andy Moffit. "That's why it's critical that we start an open dialogue about these issues. I hope Rhode Islanders know that help and hope are out there."

Mental health and substance use challenges do not discriminate. They affect Rhode Islanders of every age, race, socioeconomic status and zip code. While the special will provide information about resources that anyone in the state can utilize, it will highlight specific challenges of first responders, construction workers and young people in the state.

“We at Sociable! are honored to be the provider of creative content and social media resources for this very timely and critically important initiative.

“It was amazing working collectively with the Rhode Island Broadcasters Stations as they set their own promotion and programming interests aside and worked together and in collaboration for one common and very important goal. It’s not often that you’ll see a station agree to allow their talent on the competitors air for that matter in an on air promo airing on their competitors station. This project and multi-station collaboration embodies the true spirit of the Rhode Island Broadcaster’s Association “

Sociable! takes pride in our work on socially responsible programs such as “It’s OK Not To Be OK” and playing a role in providing hope for recovery is an honor,” said John Methia, Executive Producer/President Sociable!

“Broadcasters in Rhode Island are proud to present this joint effort. We need to spotlight the seriousness of a problem that’s giving pain to so many people and their families. We hope by using our reach we will raise awareness about mental illness and substance use and help change things for the better,” said RI Broadcasters Association Chairman Vic Vetters, Vice President and General Manager of NBC10.

“Rhode Island Broadcasters Association is comprised of Television and Radio stations within Rhode Island that work together in unity on projects and initiatives such as "It's OK not to be OK" to offer educational awareness to make informed decisions to better their lives and those who are in need. The Association is pleased to give a voice to this most important issue,” said RIBA President Lori Needham, who has coordinated the effort with Sociable! and the State of Rhode Island.

Patrick Wholey, Vice President and General Manager of WPRI 12/ Fox Providence and Board member of Rhode Island Broadcasters Association initiated the idea of local broadcasters coming together for this important partnership, " there is power in numbers and if all of us can reach a collective audience here in Rhode Island and help to end the stigma around mental health and substance use by providing information and resources than we are truly serving our audiences needs across multiple platforms"

The Rhode Island Broadcasters Association member stations adhere to the mission of the National Broadcasters Association in the belief that providing free public service materials and implementing locally focused community service initiatives are vital to our audiences. The year long initiative It's Ok Not To Be Ok allows local broadcasters to effectively partner with the State of Rhode Island to combat what is a growing problem in the country's smallest state through broadcast and social media.

Promotions have started running on local television and radio stations along with social media posts including state agency feeds. The hashtag #itsokri is being used for the special and will be used on social media platforms throughout the campaign.