Comedy Central launched long-term social impact campaign, Be the Difference, on World Mental Health Day on Thursday, Oct. 10.
The campaign is a partnership between Comedy Central and Mental Health First Aid, a program of the National Council for Behavioral Health. The first spot features comedians Jeff Ross, Matteo Lane and Yamaneika Saunders.
The spot emphasizes the importance of being there for each other, since, as the comedians point out, it’s no fun being on stage alone.
Comedy Central plans to integrate the campaign across all of its brand platforms, including linear series, social content and live events. The campaign’s goal is to make mental health as important to people as their physical health.
In addition to the campaign, Comedy Central employees are signing up for Mental Health First Aid at Work, which teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental-health issue.
“Mental illness affects everyone, including the funniest people you know. None of us are immune from experiencing a mental health crisis or from helping someone we care about in a crisis,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Comedy Central vice president of social impact, in a statement. “Comedy Central drives the cultural conversation by revealing the funny truth about whatever is happening in life. Through comedy we have the power to change the way people think and act and we will work diligently as a brand moving forward in order to drive mental health culture change.”
“We know it’s hard to talk about your mental health and ask for help,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, also in statement. “That’s why Mental Health First Aid is so valuable. It gives you permission and the tools to have those difficult conversations, support people around you and get the help you or they might need.”
The brands previously partnered at the Comedy Central Presents Clusterfest comedy festival in San Francisco this summer with a panel titled “Comedy and Mental Health: A Hilarious Conversation,” that featured comedians Neal Brennan, Michelle Buteau, Tig Notaro and Jeff Ross.
In addition, festival goers experienced a “Festival of Friendship” activation encouraging people to learn more about Mental Health First Aid and how to #BeTheDifference in helping friends during a mental health or substance-use problem.