The yearlong campaign also includes suicide prevention PSAs, on-air promos and a dedicated website with information and resources to end the stigma around mental health discussions.
Philadelphia, PA (September 3, 2019) -- Entercom, a leading media and entertainment company and one of the two largest radio broadcasters in the U.S., today announced a two-hour live, commercial-free broadcast special, “I’m Listening,” to raise awareness around mental health and mark the start of National Suicide Prevention Week. As part of its multiplatform yearlong “I’m Listening” campaign, the broadcast will air nationwide on Sunday, September 8 at 7:00 a.m. across more than 235 stations and via each station’s livestream on RADIO.COM in their respective time zones. The yearlong campaign also includes suicide prevention PSAs, on-air promos and a dedicated website with information and resources to end the stigma around mental health discussions.
“Mental health and suicide prevention are year-round initiatives at Entercom and we are doing our part to end the stigma by encouraging people to talk,” said Pat Paxton, Chief Programming Officer, Entercom. “Like millions of others, my family has been impacted by mental health issues and the effect it has on friends and families is devastating. ‘I’m Listening’ is when our vast network of radio stations and digital platforms unite on the same day, at the same time, to ultimately save lives. If we help just one person, our time will have been well spent.”
BJ Shea, on-air personality for 99.9 KISW (KISW-FM) in Seattle, will lead the special along with Dr. Ursula Whiteside, Chief Executive Officer, NowMattersNow.org. The live show will include personal stories from musicians, celebrities, athletes and first responders as well as mental health professionals. The bands Blink-182, Disturbed, singer Halsey, singer, rapper and actress Lizzo, country music star Michael Ray, pop duo Tegan and Sara, singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes, and NFL players Solomon Thomas and Chris Hubbard will be among those participating. Guests will also include Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Moutier from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Listeners will have the opportunity to participate via live call-in and an interactive website.
“I lost my sister Ella to suicide last year,” said Solomon Thomas, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. “As a survivor, I’ve not only suffered grief and guilt – but my own depression. Becoming a mental health advocate has allowed some of my healing, and I am honored to be part of Entercom’s ‘I’m Listening’ broadcast to help amplify why talking about mental health is important.”
“The fact of the matter is, I do have people to talk to. But I get so sad sometimes I feel like there is nothing anyone can say,” said Lizzo candidly. “Nobody can walk inside of your body and fix your brain – not fix it, but change your brain around to feel things differently. By participating with ‘I’m Listening’ I hope that by sharing my feelings it will help everyone understand that it’s totally normal to have the lows with the highs – and sometimes asking for help is the first step.”
“I think issues around identity and mental health are intrinsically linked,” said Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara while discussing double stigmas around mental health and discrimination in the LGBTQ community. “It makes sense to me now, that if I don’t talk about my feelings, I’m not going to feel well, I’m not going to be well. Through the work that we do with The Tegan and Sara Foundation, and some of the staggering statistics surrounding queer people and mental health, we hope that by talking about some of our experiences as young people, that it will encourage others to do the same.”
In addition to the two-hour broadcast, Entercom LGBTQ+ talk radio network CHANNEL Q, available nationwide on RADIO.COM, will extend the programming during all of National Suicide Prevention Week. From September 9 through September 13, all shows on CHANNEL Q will feature segments on mental health and suicide prevention and will include personal narratives from celebrities as well as mental health professionals.
“Thanks to Entercom for creating a space to talk about mental health and suicide prevention,” said Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Mental health conditions affect one in five people and we all experience challenges to our mental health. It’s time that we put as much attention on mental health as we do physical health. It’s my hope that by sharing real stories of hope, healing and recovery through ‘I’m Listening,’ we can help others feel empowered to share more authentically and support one another in opening up, reaching out for help and getting to treatment, if needed.”
In addition to influential narratives from celebrity guests and medical expert interviews, the special will feature how to discuss mental health and suicide with family and friends, what all of us can do to prevent suicide, what to do if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, how to get involved in suicide prevention in your local community and where to go for help.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five or 46.6 million adults in America experience mental illness in a given year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S., claiming the lives of over 47,000 people. More than 50 percent of people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life. Mental health affects everyone regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
For more information about the campaign, please visit ImListening.org. For photos, click here. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ImListening.
If someone you know is going through a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.
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