In the year since COVID-19 upended daily life, mental health struggles skyrocketed, accelerating an already dire mental health crisis that experts have called a second pandemic. According to a recent poll, 74 percent of psychologists said they were seeing more patients with anxiety disorders compared with before the pandemic, and 60 percent said they were seeing more patients with depressive disorders. BIPOC communities are particularly affected, having to face the stressors of the pandemic coupled with additional trauma such as systemic racism, persistent incidences of police brutality, anti-Asian violence and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Latino/a/x and Indigenous communities. Amid the pandemic, a larger than average share of young adults aged 18-24 have reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder. LGBTQ youth have reported devastating mental health concerns with 70% of LGBTQ youth stating that their mental health was "poor" most of the time or always during the pandemic and 42% have reported seriously considering suicide. To meet the urgency of this crisis, MTV Entertainment Group (MTVE) convened a coalition of 1,400+ organizations, brands, government agencies and cultural leaders to change the conversation from awareness to action on mental health by creating the first-ever Mental Health Action Day. On May 20, 2021, these 1,400+ partners set out to collectively drive people around the world to take their first action on mental health and create the largest cross-sector moment of action on mental health in history.
From organizations such as Color Of Change and Black Girls Smile to YouTube and the World Health Organization, the way partners engaged in Mental Health Action Day took many forms. For example, Univision activated over 120 television and radio stations around the country and over 200 social media accounts to connect viewers to mental health resources in Spanish. Meanwhile, artist Alanis Morrisette penned a new song reflecting on her own mental health experiences. MTVE itself created and drove people to a comprehensive online resource -- MentalHealthisHealth.us -- where users could reach tips and resources for improving and protecting mental health.
YouTube partnered with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on a workshop to empower digital creators to develop positive mental health content to engage their audiences.
Reddit hosted ‘Ask Me Anything’ with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford from Therapy For Black Girls.
Headspace hosted A 10 Minute Meditation for Stress and a live global meditation on TikTok.
TikTok featured content tagged with #MentalHealthAction on the Discover page on Mental Health Action Day, generating 195.7M views.
The World Health Organization (WHO) organized a discussion with Dévora Kestel, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use at WHO, and Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder of Born This Way Foundation and WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health, which included a demonstration of exercises to help manage stress onYouTube.
The Chopra Foundation hosted The Never Alone Summit to gather over 40 speakers for a 11-hour FREE livestream broadcast featuring Deepak Chopra, Russell Brand, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and his wife Amy Kennedy, Dianne von Furstenburg, singer/songwriter Jewel, and many others.
Several beauty brands such as Rare Beauty, First Aid Beauty and Urban Decay partnered with NAMI for a first-of-its-kind coalition with live Instagram programming and fundraising across partner brand accounts.
Feeding America hosted a mental health webinar for their food bank workers
ViacomCBS Veterans Network hosted the conversation Thriving Beyond Surviving: A Conversation on PTSD and Resilience during which each veteran was able to share their experiences with military traumas as well as offer steps to cope and were connected with resources provided by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) that assists wounded, ill, or injured veterans and their families.
Kate Spade New York
Started monthly Mental Health First Aid trainings with corporate and field teams in partnership with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and bi-weekly community meditations on zoom.
Queen’s Gaming Collective Video
Sound Mind Live, in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), hosted the 2021 Sound Mind Mental Health Music Festival at the Ventura County Fairgrounds featuring All Time Low, Fitz & The Tantrums, Lovelytheband and more.
VS PINK and The Jed Foundation hosted ‘Make Your Move Fest’ to encourage young adults to take action to support their mental health, including a fireside chat with high-profile Gen-Z artists and advocates to talk openly about emotional health challenges and opportunities and how they are coping and supporting each other.
On Thursday, May 20, 2021, more than 1,400 partners from 32 countries came together to shift our culture from awareness to action on mental health by encouraging and empowering people to take action to support their wellbeing, learn how to help a loved one, and drive change in their communities. As a result of the coalition’s efforts, #MentalHealthAction trended across social media reaching more than 195 million views on TikTok and 320 million engagements across social platforms. Hundreds of elected officials, professional athletes, artists and public figures such as President Joe Biden, Chelsea Clinton, Kerry Washington, Jeremy Lin, Jewel, Mike the Situation, and Robin Roberts motivated millions to take action for mental health from their personal accounts. In utilizing MTV Entertainment Group’s portfolio of impactful social accounts, we generated over 500 posts, leading to 36M impressions, 11.6M views and 454K engagements. Over $300,000 was raised for mental health action day charities and 287 fundraising campaigns were created for mental health action day charities. Of the 1400 partners who activated to drive mental health actions, 41% were nonprofit organizations, many reaching broad and diverse audiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ communities -- including nonprofits, schools, media companies and brands. Looking ahead, the coalition remains committed to motivating people worldwide to take action on mental health. May 20 will remain an annual day of action focused on driving people to get the mental health support they need, in whatever way is best for them.