Monday, February 26, 2024

‘Hollywood & Mind’ Sees the Entertainment Industry Step Up to Support Mental Health

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In a first-of-its-kind venture, the new platform Hollywood & Mind will bring leaders in the entertainment industry forward for a one-day event to help destigmatize mental health issues.

Next spring, a roster of entertainment industry heavy hitters will join forces with mental wellness experts for the Hollywood & Mind conference taking place at United Talent Agency’s Beverly Hills Campus.

The inaugural event, slated for May 11, 2023, will overlap with Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s the brainchild of entertainment journalist Cathy Applefeld Olson.

“As we continue to grapple with the growing mental health crisis in this country and around the world, the entertainment industry is in a unique position to amplify conversation, reduce stigma and effect measurable change,” Applefeld Olson said in a statement.

a woman in a maze
Courtesy Ashley Batz | Unsplash

“Up until now the intersection of entertainment and mental health has been disjointed, with no coalition to gather stakeholders, share learnings, incubate ideas and foster collaborations,” she said.

Mental illnesses are extremely common in the U.S. According to recent data from the National Institute of Health, nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults live with a mental illness—about 53 million Americans. The covid pandemic pushed a lot of these underlying struggles to the forefront.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health conditions are increasing worldwide—up 13 percent in just the last decade. Twenty percent of the world’s children and adolescents now live with mental health conditions, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 29.

Despite the increasing number of people struggling with mental health issues, less than two percent of government health expenditures around the world go to support mental health.

Hollywood & Mind

“Hollywood & Mind is a formal expression of the need and willingness for both mental health professionals and the entertainment industry to come together to provide a powerful platform for discussion,” Applefeld Olson said.

A Forbes contributor, Applefeld Olson has interviewed a number of celebrities and experts in mental wellness including Al Roker, singer Jewel, Robin Williams’ son Zak Williams, the team behind Selena Gomez-founded Wondermind, among others.

selena gomez rare beauty
Selena Gomez penned an open letter to her Rare Beauty team in the New York Times | Courtesy

“Mental health is an important issue for the UTA Foundation’s social impact efforts,” said Rene Jones, Partner and Head of Social Impact, UTA. “That’s why we are so proud to be a founding sponsor and host of this inaugural event with Hollywood & Mind. It is important to be part of a forum that discusses the problems and creative solutions for the entertainment industry.”

The one-day event is expected to include conversations, performances, and networking to help bring about action in destigmatizing mental health issues.

A growing number of celebrities and athletes have spoken out about their own mental health struggles. Gomez launched the platform Wondermind after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Singer Demi Lovato also revealed they have been diagnosed with the condition. Model Chrissy Teigen was candid about her struggles with postpartum depression. Earlier this year, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers revealed he drank the psychedelic South American brew ayahuasca to help heal personal and family traumas.

More information can be found on the Hollywood & Mind website.

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