MTV & Rainn Wilson's SoulPancake to Debut 'Life Continued: Defeating Depression', 10/10
MTV 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.