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NowThis and Ken Burns to Highlight Youth Mental Health Journeys During Mental Health Awareness Month This May

Scenes from new PBS documentary “Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness” to be featured in NowThis content encouraging young people to share their stories

May 10, 2022 — NowThis will highlight youth mental health issues utilizing content from the upcoming PBS documentary, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS, which premieres in June and is executive produced by Ken Burns, directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers and produced by WETA Washington, D.C. The new content created by the NowThis team will be shared on its social platforms throughout Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The efforts will culminate in a live TikTok conversation with mental health experts Kee Dunning and Dr. Sarah Vinson, both featured in the documentary, on May 24, 2022.

View the first video here.

“We are at a critical juncture around mental health in this country and our children are suffering,” said Ken Burns. “HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS, the extraordinary new PBS film directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Ewers, which I’m proud to have executive produced, has the potential to spark a conversation that helps young people share their stories and further eliminate the stigma associated with mental health. We are honored to work with NowThis and their creative teams to get this material out to young people around the country. It is a partnership that has the potential to save lives.”

“NowThis is proud to partner with Ken Burns to uplift this vital conversation about the mental health challenges facing young people today,” said Athan Stephanopoulos, publisher of NowThis. “Over the past few years, the mental health crisis amongst young people has only intensified, and NowThis is committed to connecting with our audience to raise awareness and destigmatize conversations on the issue.”

Burns and the Ewers approached NowThis because they were impressed with the media organization’s use of video and graphics, and their reach among young people across their social platforms, including on TikTok where the outlet has a combined 7.4 million followers – making it a top news brand on the platform. The NowThis team will utilize clips from the four-hour film, which includes young people talking about how they dealt with their mental health challenges, to create new, short videos, including graphics and text, that will be pushed out on their social platforms. The video shorts, which will be released weekly during the month of May, tackle subjects like depression, stigma, bullying and other issues young people grapple with today. On Tuesday, May 24, mental health experts from the documentary, including Kee Dunning and Dr. Sarah Vinson, will lead a live conversation on TikTok with young people discussing these issues.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS, which premieres June 27 and 28, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app, features first-person accounts from more than 20 young people, ranging in age from 11 to 27, who live with mental health conditions. The documentary also includes commentary from parents, teachers, friends, healthcare providers in their lives, and independent mental health experts. The program presents an unvarnished window into daily life with mental health challenges, from seemingly insurmountable obstacles to stories of hope and resilience. Through the experiences of these young people, the film confronts the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, helps advance a shift in the public perception of mental health issues today. The film is part of Well Beings, a national multiplatform campaign from WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, to demystify and destigmatize our physical and mental health through storytelling. A preview of the documentary, with a special message from executive producer Ken Burns, is available at wellbeings.org/plainsight.

Young people are also encouraged to share their stories with their peers on the We Are Well Beings Storywall, available at https://wellbeings.org/share-your-story/.

KEN BURNS PRESENTS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS A FILM BY ERIK EWERS AND CHRISTOPHER LOREN EWERS is a production of Florentine Films, Ewers Brothers Productions, and WETA Washington, D.C. Directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers. Written by David Blistein. Produced by Julie Coffman. Co-produced by Susan Shumaker, Erik Ewers, Christopher Loren Ewers, and David Blistein. Executive produced by Ken Burns. Executive producers for WETA are John F. Wilson and Tom Chiodo. Producer for WETA is Kate Kelly. WETA production management by Jim Corbley. Music by David Cieri. Narrated by Peter Coyote.

The Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project, which includes HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS, is made possible by Otsuka, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, American Psychiatric Association Foundation, One Mind, Movember, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dana Foundation, Dauten Family Foundation, The Hersh Foundation, Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, John & Frances Von Schlegell, Sutter Health, Robina Riccitiello, and Jackson Family Enterprises. Partners include CALL TO MIND at American Public Media, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, WE Organization, Forbes, PEOPLE, Mental Health America, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, The Steve Fund, The Jed Foundation and Athletes for Hope. The project underwriters are leveraging their organizational resources to support Well Beings and have created a video, available to view at youtu.be/6Ke4BTivJzU.

For more information about HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS, visit

pbs.org/plainsight and WellBeings.org/plainsight. The public can join the conversation on youth mental health by using #PlainSightPBS and #WellBeings, or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

ABOUT WELL BEINGS

The documentary HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: YOUTH MENTAL ILLNESS is a central part of Well Beings, a multi-year, multiplatform health campaign including other feature-length documentaries, short-form original digital content, user-generated storytelling, digital and social media campaigns, community events, and educational curriculum created by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, with support from a broad coalition of national and local partners. Well Beings launched in July 2020 with the Youth Mental Health Project, engaging youth voices to create a national conversation, raise awareness, address stigma and discrimination, and encourage compassion. Well Beings brings together partners from across the country, including people with lived experience of health challenges, families, caregivers, educators, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors, to create awareness and resources for better health and well-being. Other featured Well Beings projects address rural health care, caregiving, survival of childhood cancer and more.

ABOUT PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter. 

ABOUT NOWTHIS

NowThis is the #1 most-viewed News & Politics Digital Publisher across FB, YT and Twitter [Tubular Labs, US Based Digital Publishers, September 2021], and a leading news brand and one of the most followed overall publishers on TikTok, with over 7.2M followers [Platform Analytics, April 2022]. Our brand mission is to make news engaging and relevant for young adults by humanizing our complicated world. Launched in 2012, NowThis has revolutionized how news today is consumed. Our entertaining, inspiring and informative videos receive over 1.4B monthly views [platform analytics, January 2021]. NowThis has won an Academy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and a Cannes Lions Award. In 2022 NowThis joined Vox Media, the leading modern media company.

ABOUT WETA

WETA is the leading public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio and digital. WETA Washington, D.C., is the second largest producing-station of new content for public television in the United States, with productions and co-productions including works by filmmaker Ken Burns and Florentine Films, such as BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; and by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including the series FINDING YOUR ROOTS; as well as PBS NEWSHOUR, WASHINGTON WEEK, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, THE KENNEDY CENTER MARK TWAIN PRIZE, and IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.