MTV Entertainment Announces Cohort of Young Creators and Mental Health Activists Set to Participate in First-Ever Mental Health Youth Action Forum in Coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration

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Thirty young people from across the country selected to participate in the six-week program and Forum to develop action-driven mental health storytelling and creative content

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union remarks about the national mental health crisis laying out a plan to transform how mental health is understood, perceived, accessed, and treated, MTV Entertainment Group today announced its inaugural cohort of 30 young mental health content creators and activists who will participate in the Mental Health Youth Action Forum held in coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration set to take place in May.

MTV Entertainment Group, along with 18 leading mental health non-profits, previously announced that they will host the first-ever convening to empower young people to drive action on mental health through storytelling and media. Senior officials from the Biden-Harris Administration, including from the Department of Health and Human Services, are expected to speak at the Forum, which will culminate with a White House event.

Prior to the Forum, participants will engage in a six-week facilitated program to define a mental health problem prevalent in their communities and work in groups to develop a creative campaign that will inspire their peers to take action to support their own or a friend's mental health. Following the 6-week program, participants will present their ideas at a White House event to a diverse audience of media and technology professionals, government officials, and non-profit executives to help inform future creative public health campaigns related to mental health.

Together, their ideas will be the basis for creative content such as PSAs, podcasts, and digital art focused on improving the mental health of historically marginalized communities. Campaigns will be launched nationwide before the end of the year in partnership with leading media and entertainment brands who will amplify and/or co-develop the creative campaigns coming out of the Forum.

From the hundreds of applications received, these young people stood out for their commitment to mental health activism, their digital and creative skill sets, and their deep appreciation for the possibilities this exciting opportunity will bring. Youth participants include:

Adia Fadaei, Los Angeles, CA, Age 19

Justine Bautista, Irvine, CA, Age 23

Aidan Hallinan, San Diego, CA, Age 18

Keely Cat-Wells, Los Angeles, CA, Age 25

Alex Ang, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Age 21

Kheira Bekkadja, Alexandria, VA, Age 18

Ayanna Kelly, Woodbridge, VA, Age 27

Maddox Guerilla, Bronx, NY, Age 25

Bhavya Rai, Cary, NC, Age 24

Mahmoud Khedr, New York, NY, Age 25

Carla Ibarra, Los Angeles, CA, Age 26

Marcus Alston, Baltimore, MD, Age 26

Carmel Alshaibi, New Haven, CT, Age 20

Meera Varma, Burbank, CA, Age 21

Cynthia Yue, Washington, D.C., Age 21

Nancy Su, Chapel Hill, NC, Age 28

Danielle Boyer, Troy, MI, Age 21

Sophie Szew, Los Angeles, CA, Age 19

Davida Padi, Parsippany, NJ, Age 19

Sreeya Pittala, Newark, DE, Age 18

Dayna Altman, Boston, MA, Age 29

Theadora Touchton, Los Angeles, CA, Age 26

Diana Chao, Claremont, CA, Age 23

Uele Boxill, Columbus, OH, Age 26

Jazmine Wildcat, Riverton, WY, Age 18

Victoria Makanjuola, Plano, TX, Age 24

Jorge Alvarez, Elmwood Park, NJ, Age 23

Zane Landin, Chino, CA, Age 24

Juan Acosta, Woodland, CA, Age 24

Zoë Cain, Los Angeles, CA, Age 24
 

For more information on the participants, go here. Previously announced non-profit partners include:

 

The AAKOMA Project

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Active Minds

Poderistas

Asian Mental Health Collective

Rare Impact Fund by Rare Beauty

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation

Student Veterans of America

Born This Way Foundation

Trans Lifeline

Bring Change to Mind

The Trevor Project

The Jed Foundation

The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health

Mental Wealth Alliance

Vibrant Emotional Health

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

We R Native

Over the past two decades, mental health struggles have risen dramatically, especially among young adults. Accelerated by the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial injustices and trauma of the last year, the mental health crisis has been called a “second pandemic” by some experts. Although mental health awareness has increased, young people still face barriers in taking actions to support their own or their loved ones’ emotional wellbeing. In response, MTV Entertainment Group is working to engage young people from across the United States to employ their creative expertise and direct knowledge of their peers to help drive their communities to take mental health actions.

Leveraging its decades-long history of sparking conversations about mental health, in April 2021 MTV Entertainment Group launched Mental Health is Health, a multi-year initiative to tackle the nation’s growing health crisis by harnessing the power of storytelling to normalize mental health conversations and inspire action. MTVE convened a coalition of entertainment media companies and mental health experts for the Better Together Mental Health Storytelling Summit and unveiled The Mental Health Media Guide, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive resource for content creators designed to elevate storytelling opportunities that can change the narrative on mental health. Building on its legacy of bringing companies and organizations together to create social change, MTVE spearheaded Mental Health Action Day, an open-source global movement to shift culture from awareness to action. More than 1,400 organizations, brands, government agencies and cultural leaders participated in the inaugural event, which focused on driving people to get the mental health support they need.

Media: Jo Flattery, jo.flattery@viacom.com

Source: MTV