To mark World Mental Health Day yesterday, Comedy Central, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a program of the National Council for Behavioral Health, premiered its first Be The Difference public service announcement (PSA) featuring Jeff Ross, Matteo Lane and Yamaneika Saunders.
Comedy Central says this is the first step toward a long-term social impact campaign changing the culture around mental health.
The TV network will air this PSA throughout October.
Comedy Central also has a page online devoted to mental health. The network’s employees, in addition, will sign up for Mental Health First Aid at Work, a program teaching participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health issue.
“Mental illness affects everyone, including the funniest people you know. None of us are immune from experiencing a mental health crisis or from helping someone we care about in a crisis,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Comedy Central Vice President of Social Impact. “Comedy Central drives the cultural conversation by revealing the funny truth about whatever is happening in life. Through comedy we have the power to change the way people think and act and we will work diligently as a brand moving forward in order to drive mental health culture change.”
“We know it’s hard to talk about your mental health and ask for help,” said Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “That’s why Mental Health First Aid is so valuable. It gives you permission and the tools to have those difficult conversations, support people around you and get the help you or they might need.”
Comedy Central hopes to help destigmatize mental illness. This summer, it hosted a comedian panel at Clusterfest in San Francisco, featuring Neal Brennan, Michelle Buteau, and Tig Notaro in conversation with Ross. Clusterfest also featured a “Festival of Friendship” exhibit in honor of the late Brody Stevens.