In May 2020, Kenneth Cole founded and launched the Mental Health Coalition ¬– a coalition of the nation's leading mental health organizations, brands, and individuals who have joined forces to end the debilitating stigma surrounding mental health and to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness. Their mission is to catalyze like-minded communities to work together to destigmatize mental health and empower access to vital resources and necessary support for all.
The Mental Health Coalition was formed with the understanding that the mental health crisis is fueled by a pervasive and devastating stigma, preventing millions of individuals from being able to seek the critical treatment they need. We will not relent until mental health is no longer associated with stigma, shame or judgement and all people feel empowered to openly discuss and address their individual mental health needs.
WHY I STARTED THE MENTAL HEALTH COALITION
This initiative is very personal to me. I’ve seen, first hand, how mental illness can be so debilitating to many who I know and love, and how it can force those affected into the shadows. I have always been aware of the existence of mental health conditions and the degree to which it affects everyone, but recently it has been even more compounded by the pandemic.
Even before Covid-19, mental illness was and is one of the most prevalent public health crises, affecting hundreds of millions of people globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 4 people globally will be affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lives. However, that means 4 in 4 people are significantly impacted, if not directly themselves, but by the fact it’s happening to someone they know.
Silence is worsening this global crisis. People are afraid to speak up, fearing they will be judged and persecuted. That’s why there is a pressing need to destigmatize this public health threat, which starts with changing our cultural narrative, and creating a safe and supportive community.
This is a unique moment in time where together, and only together, we can create pervasive change. Starting with the vocabulary, we will shift the narrative to shift people’s preconceived perspectives. That is what The Mental Health Coalition was founded to do.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
In February 2021, The Mental Health Coalition launched an innovative collaboration with Facebook to introduce a series of creative experiences designed to engage people on Facebook and Instagram in conversations around emotional wellness. Social media has been a main form of social connection for many in the wake of COVID-19. Physical isolation has made it difficult, and often impossible, for face-to-face interaction; social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram provide communities and resources that individuals need most during these challenging times. That's why Facebook and the MHC have joined forces to provide expanded access to mental health support resources for all communities.
This first of its kind movement aims to destigmatize mental health, providing a simplified platform for people to understand, express, and find the support they need to maintain long-term mental wellness. The MHC initiative will initially feature four main components, including: "121" IGTV Series, a chat series featuring advocates talking to their "1" about how they get through challenging times; "Reality Check Filters," which allow you to visually express how you're really feeling; "Mood Meter" Instagram account from Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, which helps you express and manage your emotions; and "Fine Tune Your Feed," an Instagram campaign which teaches people how to control and customize their online experience.
The leading mental health organizations supporting the initiative are:
The creative partners that helped collaborate on this effort include Facebook's Creative Shop, Pentagram, House of V and Hornet.
Learn more about The Mental Health Coalition right here