FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2013
MTV & Rainn Wilsons SoulPancake Partner to Debut: Life Continued: Defeating Depression - On World Mental Health Day
60-Minute Documentary Goes Inside the Journeys of Young People Overcoming Emotional Struggles and Mental Health Conditions
New York, NY (September 30, 2013)
today announced that the network will air “Life Continued: Defeating Depression,” a 60-minute special produced by Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake on World Mental Health Day, October 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. “Life Continued: Defeating Depression” goes inside the lives of two young people from different parts of the country who fought their way through severe mental health struggles, but found hope and a path to recovery by taking steps to feel better and drawing strength from those around them.
The special responds to the fact that suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, and aims to empower viewers facing emotional struggles to get help or to support friends in need.
“Depression can be debilitating, and many teens and young adults are struggling to find their way to mental health,” Rainn Wilson said. “SoulPancake is excited to partner with MTV to tell the brave stories of two college students who found their way out of the darkness. We hope this special can inspire viewers to seek help and support, and find the courage to heal.”
“‘Life Continued: Defeating Depression’ builds on MTV’s deep-rooted history of tackling issues young people are facing, and we’re proud to partner with Rainn Wilson and his team at SoulPancake to use the power of storytelling to connect with the audience on this important issue,” said Susanne Daniels, President of Programming, MTV. “We hope that by sharing the stories of these incredibly brave young people, we can empower viewers who are struggling to understand that they are not alone, and that things can get better.”
MTV and SoulPancake have partnered with The Jed Foundation to help viewers who relate to the stories in the special take action to help themselves or someone they know. A custom resource center on the “Half of Us campaign” website (halfofus.com) will help viewers understand feelings like depression, anxiety and insecurity, and find ways to reach out for support or take action to feel better. A new campaign through the “Love is Louder” movement will empower young people to share positive messages of hope and express that their “#lifecontinued because @LoveisLouder than the pain.”
“Life Continued: Defeating Depression” will document the powerful stories of Devin from Indiana, and Sarah Virginia from North Carolina:
Devin’s friends describe him as upbeat and outgoing, but this 21-year-old, biracial Indiana State University track star has faced a number of challenges in his life. From a young age, Devin struggled with depression and felt like he didn’t belong in his own community due to racism and homophobia. Teased endlessly for being gay, he kept his sexual orientation hidden. During this time, he struggled with intense feelings of loneliness and worthlessness, and found himself in an incredibly dark place. He began to see signs of hope again once he realized he was not alone, and that there were other people going through the same thing. He sought out help from a medical professional, and recently began sharing his story with the people who matter most in his life – including his mother.
Sarah Virginia is a 20-year-old Salem College student studying political science and communications. Her struggles with depression, anorexia, and self-harm began at the age of 12. At the age of 17, she hit her lowest point and attempted to take her own life. After receiving medical help and counseling, she realized she had a second chance and wanted to make the best of it. She relies on an extensive network of love and support, including her family, classmates, and her long-distance boyfriend Neil to stay healthy. She also is beginning to share her story through her writing and music.
Depression affects about 19 million people in the United States every year. Young people are especially at risk, with half of college students reporting that they have felt so depressed that they couldn’t function.
mtvU and The Jed Foundation’s “Half of Us” campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of conditions like depression, helping young people deal with emotional struggles and tough situations, and encouraging them to reach out for help if they need it. The campaign includes a powerful interactive web site and on-air programming that shines a light on the emotional health struggles and helps young people understand that they are not alone.
Additionally, “Love is Louder” was created by The Jed Foundation, MTV and actress Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone. The movement works online and in communities to strengthen emotional health by building resiliency, creating connectedness, promoting acceptance and equipping advocates to support their peers.
“Life Continued: Defeating Depression,” is executive produced by SoulPancake’s Rainn Wilson, Golriz Lucina, Shabnam Mogharabi, and Sarah North. Bobby Pura is executive producer. Lauren Dolgen, Colin Nash, and James DeSimas are MTV development executives. Jennifer Russakoff is the production executive for MTV.
MTV is the world’s premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV’s sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online hub MTV.com is a leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information, go to www.mtvpress.com
About The Jed Foundation:
The Jed Foundation (www.jedfoundation.org
) is a leading nonprofit working to protect the emotional health of teenagers and colleges students. Our programs are inspiring a new national dialogue on mental health, encouraging millions of young people to speak up and take action, and changing the way academic institutions create healthier campus communities and prevent substance abuse and self-harm. These programs include: JedCampus, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students; ULifeline, an online resource that helps students understand and address mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders; the Half of Us campaign, with MTV, which uses online and on-air programming to share stories and encourage help-seeking; the Love is Louder movement that helps individuals, communities and schools build resiliency, create connectedness and promote acceptance; Transition Year, an online resource for parents aimed at helping to ensure a smooth, healthy transition into college life; and a portfolio of resources that helps campuses promote emotional health and protect at-risk students. Learn more at www.jedfoundation.org
SoulPancake is actor Rainn Wilson’s media and production company that creates content to explore the human experience. We have an Emmy® Award-winning television division, a digital platform and Webby® Award-winning premium YouTube channel (youtube.com/soulpancake), and a first-rate creative agency services team. SoulPancake’s content is joyful, thought-provoking, quirky, cinematic, and full of heartfelt emotion. Find SoulPancake online: www.soulpancake.com
and on Twitter: @soulpancake.
About The Jed Foundation
The Jed Foundation (www.jedfoundation.org) is a leading nonprofit working to protect the emotional health of teenagers and colleges students. Our programs are inspiring a new national dialogue on mental health, encouraging millions of young people to speak up and take action, and changing the way academic institutions create healthier campus communities and prevent substance abuse and self-harm. These programs include: The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students; ULifeline, an online resource that helps students understand and address mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders; the Half of Uscampaign, with MTV, which uses online and on-air programming to share stories and encourage help-seeking; the Love is Loudermovement that helps individuals, communities and schools build resiliency, create connectedness and promote acceptance; Transition Year, an online resource for parents aimed at helping to ensure a smooth, healthy transition into college life; and a portfolio of resources that helps campuses promote emotional health and protect at-risk students. Learn more at www.jedfoundation.org.
Learn more by visiting www.jedfoundation.org, www.thecampusprogram.org, www.halfofus.com, www.loveislouder.com, www.ulifeline.org, and www.transitionyear.org.
Makovsky for The Jed Foundation
Direct: (212) 508-9675