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First National ‘Mental Health Action Day’ to Drive People to Take a First Mental Health Action for Themselves or Others

One year into COVID-19 and amidst a most dire mental health crisis, RespectAbility and nearly 200 organizations team up to plan inaugural ‘Mental Health Action Day’ on May 20

Learn more at

5.20 Mental Health Action Day Founding partner. MentalHealthActionDay.orgWashington, D.C., April 13 – RespectAbility, in partnership with 193 leading brands, nonprofits and cultural leaders including MTV Entertainment Group, today announced the first-ever Mental Health Action Day, to be held on Thursday, May 20 during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen, particularly among young adults. And the COVID pandemic has accelerated the already dire crisis, giving way to what many mental health professionals have called the “second pandemic.”

Though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement of brands, organizations and cultural leaders to drive culture from mental health awareness to mental health action. Resources and tools will be available for people to seek help in a myriad of ways from starting a meditation practice, learning how to support a friend, or advocating for change.

“RespectAbility has been proud to partner with the MTV Entertainment Group on a variety of projects and Mental Health Action Day is one such initiative – one which should spur action 365 days a year,” said Lauren Appelbaum, VP of Communications at RespectAbility. “By bringing together a diverse group of corporations and nonprofits, MTV’s Mental Health Action Day can help both decrease the stigma that prevents people from living their authentic lives while also ensuring that people know where to find mental health and well-being resources. One way to do this is to ensure more authentic storytelling of mental health on screen. RespectAbility is honored to be joining in this effort to raise awareness, the first step in leading to concrete action.”

Mental Health Action Day is being planned in partnership with TaskForce, a cultural organizing agency that builds capacity for those taking on the most pressing challenges facing our communities, our nation and our world.

“From Covid-19 to economic struggles and the continuing fight for racial justice, the other half of the twin pandemic is the rise of our mental health challenges,” said Erika Soto Lamb, vice president of Social Impact Strategy at MTV Entertainment Group. “This is a critical moment to shift our culture from mental health awareness to mental health action and MTV is proud to come together with diverse cross-sector leaders on this inaugural day to encourage and empower people to take action – for themselves, for their loved ones or for the systemic changes needed to improve our social and emotional wellbeing.”

Partners To Date: 

  • 320 Changes Direction
  • AARP
  • Active Minds
  • AIM Youth Mental Health
  • AIR – Attitudes In Reverse®
  • Aliento
  • Alma
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • AmeriCorps
  • batyr
  • Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.
  • BET
  • BetterUp
  • Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky Initiative
  • Born This Way Foundation
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Bring Change to Mind
  • Charity Bomb
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • City of Kindness
  • CivicGeorgia
  • Clinton Foundation
  • Clubhouse International
  • CMT
  • Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)
  • Color Of Change
  • Comedy Central
  • Comedy Gives Back
  • Communities In Schools®
  • Compass Coffee
  • Complex Networks
  • Cope Notes®
  • Crisis Text Line
  • CURA Strategies
  • Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
  • Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation
  • Drumming for Your Life Institute
  • Empathy Rocks
  • Empire Vets
  • End Rape On Campus
  • Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC)
  • Eventbrite
  • Falkora Mental Health and Neutrotech Initiative
  • FaZe Clan
  • Feeding America
  • Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
  • Find Your Anchor
  • First Responders First
  • Fountain House
  • FourBlock
  • General Assembly
  • Generation S.O.S.
  • GI Go Fund
  • Give an Hour
  • Grit Digital Health
  • Gympass
  • #HalfTheStory
  • HeadCount
  • Headspace
  • Health Action Alliance
  • Hilinski’s Hope
  • Hillel International
  • Hines Foundation
  • Home Base
  • Hope For The Day
  • Hopelab
  • Inseparable
  • International Mental Health Association (IMHA)
  • It’s On Us
  • The Jed Foundation
  • JobPath Partners
  • Joyful Heart Foundation
  • JV Agency
  • kate spade new york
  • Kenneth Cole
  • LogoTV
  • Long Island Alzheimer’s Dementia Center
  • Love is Louder
  • March for Our Lives
  • MedCircle
  • Mental Health America
  • #MentalHealthPH
  • Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI)
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Movember
  • MTV
  • Musack
  • MusiCares
  • Muslim Advocates
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • NAMI Westside Los Angeles
  • National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  • National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • National Safety Council
  • NBCUniversal
  • Never Alone Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
  • NM Impact Ltd.
  • NoStigmas
  • Notes for needs
  • NowThis
  • Number Story
  • Office Depot
  • On Our Sleeves®
  • One Love Foundation
  • One Mind
  • Operation Homefront
  • Overtown Youth Center
  • Painted Brain
  • Panorama Global
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Paramount Network
  • Peer Health Exchange
  • Penske Media Corporation
  • Plant People
  • Poder Latinx
  • Pop TV
  • Project Healthy Minds
  • Psych Hub
  • Puffco
  • Punk Rock Food Drive
  • Queens Gaming Collective
  • Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez
  • Reddit
  • Represent Justice
  • RespectAbility
  • Rise Above The Disorder
  • Rock to Recovery
  • Saint City Culinary Foundation (
  • Sana Benefits
  • Sanvello Health
  • Shatterproof
  • Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Snap Inc.
  • Songs That Saved My Life
  • Sound Mind Live
  • Special Olympics, Inc.
  • Storyline Partners
  • Stronger Than Stigma®
  • Student Veterans of America
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Taskeen Health Initiative
  • Teen Line
  • The Ad Council
  • The Chopra Foundation
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Kennedy Forum
  • The Lewis Prize for Music
  • The Mental Health Coalition
  • The National Council for Behavioral Health
  • The People Concern
  • The Trevor Project
  • The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health
  • Therapists in Tech
  • Therapy for Black Girls
  • theSkimm
  • THIRA Health
  • Thrive Global
  • TimelyMD
  • TIME’S UP Foundation
  • To Write Love on Her Arms
  • Too Small To Fail
  • Trans Lifeline
  • TV Land
  • Two Chairs
  • Uber
  • United Nations Verified
  • Unite The United
  • United Suicide Survivors International
  • United Way Worldwide
  • Univision Communications Inc.
  • VH1
  • ViacomCBS
  • ViacomCBS Veterans Network
  • Vibrant Emotional Health
  • VICE Media Group
  • Vice Ventures
  • VidCon
  • Watering Seeds
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • YouTube

Additional participants and more information about how each partner will activate on May 20 will be forthcoming. More on Mental Health Action Day and initial partners can be found at

About Mental Health Action Day

Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement of brands, organizations and cultural leaders to drive culture from mental health awareness to mental health action. The first Mental Health Action Day will take place on May 20, 2021 with a mission to encourage and empower people to take their first steps toward mental health action – whether for themselves, for their loved ones or to advocate for systemic changes, because mental health is health. Learn more at

Media Contact

Lauren Appelbaum, [email protected]

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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