Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., announces that the company is the lead, founding sponsor of the WELL BEINGS Youth Mental Health Project, a multi-year, public health campaign launched by WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in the nation’s capital. The sponsorship also includes the future PBS documentary series Hiding in Plain Sight: Our Mental Health Crisis (working title), executive-produced by award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, produced and directed by Ewers Brothers Productions, which will focus on mental health issues ranging from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, addiction, suicide and more.
WELL BEINGS addresses the critical health needs of Americans through broadcast content, original digital content, and impactful local events. The WELL BEINGS campaign debuts with the YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT, featuring a variety of educational information and resources emphasizing mental health needs and amplifying the voices of youth in America. Diverse groups from around the country will participate in the program, including patients, families, caregivers, teachers, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors.
“Public media is uniquely situated to convene expert partners, reach wide audiences, and create cross-platform content on urgent public issues. The mental health crisis in this country is critically important, and we have the opportunity to create a national conversation on this topic as well as provide robust resources,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA Washington, D.C. “Mental health issues are particularly acute for young people now, but they are also showing us new ways to intervene and provide care and assistance to those with the greatest needs. By listening to their peers, removing the stigma associated with these illnesses, and helping guide those in need to resources, young people are inspiring all who are seeking new approaches and changing how Americans think about mental health issues.”
The Hiding in Plain Sight: Our Mental Health Crisis (working title) documentary is intended for national broadcast on public media, as well as international distribution. The film will explore how young people are addressing their mental health needs and the impact of mental health stigma and stress on today’s youth, as well as advances in research and therapy. The four-hour film, produced and directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers of Ewers Brother Productions, will look at the experiences of young people who live with mental health conditions and focus on the importance of awareness and compassion. This film will shine a clear light on what life is like for these young people as well as for the parents, teachers, friends and healthcare providers in their lives. The documentary will be accompanied by an expansive outreach, education, and social media campaign with a strong focus on direct engagement of youth and communities.
“As a leader in mental health, Otsuka is honored to be the lead, founding sponsor of the WELL BEINGS Youth Mental Health Project and documentary, executive-produced by world-renowned master storyteller, Ken Burns,” said Kabir Nath, president and CEO, Otsuka North America Pharmaceutical Business. “Now more than ever, we must work collectively to provide a ‘Voice’ to the millions of people, many of them our youth, who live with mental illness. Otsuka’s mission is to defy limitation, so that others can too, and this important film and surrounding campaign has the potential to be the catalyst to truly make a difference.”
The WELL BEINGS Youth Mental Health Project will also feature a 24-city tour where teachers, counselors and youth can discuss topics around mental health today and review resources and information on best practices, including youth-focused engagement, training and support systems. The tour will be virtual and/or in-person, depending on the market and current public health concerns.
For more information about the WELL BEINGS campaign, visit WellBeings.org or follow @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and join the conversation with #WellBeings.