September is a month for causes and one more pressing than ever is National Suicide Prevention week, coming September 8th-13th, 2019. At this point in time, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that one in five (or 46.6 million) adults in the United States experience mental illness in any given year. More than half of all adults will be diagnosed with a mental disorder throughout their lifetime! These unifying statistics makes the fact that society at large is still scared to publicly discuss mental illness all the more urgent. We need to embrace mental health on a national level — NOW. Entercom, one of two of the biggest radio conglomerates in the business, knows the importance of suicide prevention and has thus dedicated a two-hour commercial-free broadcast for the cause year over year, this time airing 7am Sunday, September 8th, 2019.
We need to embrace mental health on a national level — NOW.
“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,” declares Entercom Chief Programming Officer, Pat Paxton. “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.”
The 2019 broadcast will kickoff by personal testimonies by NFL players Soloman Thomas (of the San Francisco 49ers) and Chris Hubbard (of the Cleveland Browns). The entire two-hour special will be then led by Seattle 99.9 KISW-FM on-air personality BJ Shea alongside CEO of NowMattersNow.org, Dr. Ursula Whiteside, who will welcome musicians, athletes, celebrities, first responders and mental health professionals alike. Musician special guests will include Lizzo, Shawn Mendes, Blink-182, Halsey, Disturbed, Michael Ray and Tegan and Sara, among other big names.
“The fact of the matter is, I do have people to talk to,” said rapper Lizzo off-the-cuff. “But, I get so sad sometimes, I feel like there is nothing anyone can say. 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,” commented Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara)…
“I think issues around identity and mental health are intrinsically linked,” commented Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara) in a discussion centering around mental health and LGBTQ+ discrimination. “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.”
The Sunday broadcast will air across all 235 Entercom radio stations, as well as its live streams on radio.com. To link Quin’s comment to the cause, Channel Q (Entercom’s LGBTQ+ station) will continue to air mental health initiatives and commentaries throughout the rest of National Suicide Prevention Week from celebrities and guest speakers. Listeners can participate in “I’m Listening” (and its Channel Q continuance) via live phone-ins and the program’s interactive website. Entercom’s yearlong campaign includes not only celeb testimony, but mental health PSAs, on-air promotions and a dedicated website with information on how to join the cause. For more information, visit the links below and don’t forget to tune in 7am September 8th in all respective time zones across America.