The Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) convened leading content creators, standards & practices experts, social impact teams and top public health officials to discuss the importance of accurately and responsibly depicting stories of hope about drug addiction and mental health issues across entertainment content. The briefing was hosted at FOX Studio Lot in Los Angeles under the leadership of Elizabeth Casey, EVP & Associate General Counsel, Fox Corporation.
The briefing featured a panel that included VADMU.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams; Dr. Keita Franklin, Chief Clinical Officer, PsychHub; Dr. Matthew Miller, Acting Director, Suicide Prevention Program, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs; and Julie Strikler, Advocate for Families Facing Addiction & Suicide, DrugFree.org.
Dr. Adams informed the audience that suicide and addiction are often co-occurring conditions. Dr. Franklin shared how the entertainment industry can help by how they depict veterans and the general public who are at risk and by understanding hope and recovery as it applies to suicide prevention. Dr. Miller emphasized the effectiveness of publicizing key resources and tools for audiences, including help lines such as the Veteran Crisis Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK; press 1 for Vets.
Sharing the story of his own brother, Dr. Adams said, “More than 50% of overdoses happen in our homes. Those suffering from addiction are our family members, friends and neighbors. And they should be portrayed as such on television.”
The over arching theme centered around improving the way the disease of addiction is portrayed in the television shows, movies, and music Americans consume. It is critical to reducing stigma and ultimately getting people the help they need. It is important for consumers to see an accurate depiction of drug use, addiction, and treatment, as well as the many incredible stories of hope and recovery.
"As a content creator and as a partner in EIC’s work, I could not have been more inspired by this panel discussion. To have creative professionals, policy makers, and scientists in one place, propelled by a common mission, created a synergism that provided me with both concrete immediate action steps and long-term aspirational goals for spreading a message of tolerance and hope," stated Gary R. Benz, President, Chief Executive Officer, GRB Entertainment and EiC Board Chair.
“Through the powerful medium of entertainment, we can bring to life important stories about addiction and suicide to better educate audiences about these complex health issues, reduce public stigma and instill the message of hope that comes with treatment and recovery,” said Marie Gallo Dyak, president and CEO of EIC.
Casey commented: “It is our privilege and responsibility to bring engaging and compelling content into the homes of millions of people. The EIC serves an essential role in helping us depict our characters and stories accurately, and we are pleased that FOX was able to host this event that brought the entertainment industry together for an important discussion.”
EIC will continue to provide expertise to content creators to address their specific audiences with stories of recovery and hope. The Entertainment Industries Council’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Briefing for Entertainment Writers was made possible in part by funding from the ALKERMES INSPIRATION GRANTS