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Kenneth Cole’s new interactive storytelling platform aims to destigmatize mental health

Social activist and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, today announced the launch of The Mental Health Coalition (MHC), the first collaborative effort of this scale which convenes and unites the leading US mental health organizations, creative and media platforms, passionate advocates, as well as celebrities working collectively to destigmatize mental health conditions and address the pervasive public health crisis. The Coalition launches with an online platform and digital resource guide, www.thementalhealthcoalition.org and an interactive storytelling platform www.howareyoureally.org.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, mental illness was already one of the world’s most pressing public health concerns, affecting hundreds of millions of people. According to the WHO, 1 in 4 people globally will be affected by a mental health condition; however, we know that 4 out of 4 are in fact significantly impacted by them. 

With millions now forced into quarantine, the magnitude of this compounds significantly. Studies have shown that physical distancing and stress related to the coronavirus crisis are having an increasing impact on mental health, amplifying the urgency for this initiative. The Mental Health Coalition platform will be a place where individuals seeking help or guidance can access resources from our partners and better understand ways to discuss mental health.

“This is a critical moment in time. The collective consciousness from the pandemic has created an unprecedented urgency to address the crisis now,” states Founder and Chairman of The Mental Health Coalition, Kenneth Cole. I am proud to bring together a community of the most impactful mental health service providers in the country, leading academics, creative, media, and business leaders with the common goal of changing the mental health narrative in a way that will empower rather than diminish those individuals living with mental health conditions. We are aligned with the goal of ending the related devastating stigma. I believe that together we can end the stigma, but only together.”

The initiative prompts the most universally and commonly asked question and also the question rarely answered, “How Are You, Really?” This initiative challenges people to answer this as honestly as they are able, allowing themselves to be vulnerable, empathic, and/or anywhere in between. By individuals sharing their truth about how they really feel, there is much scientific and anecdotal evidence that it will be healing for them and at the same time will support and inspire many others who are living with a mental health condition.

The challenge will be launched by posting your video and then challenging others to authentically answer that same question “How are you, really?” and sharing their stories at http://www.howareyoureally.org and on Instagram and Twitter.

In addition, iHeartMedia, the number one audio company in the United States, will air a series of PSAs across its 850+ radio stations beginning today through the end of the month that encourages participation in the challenge. The series of radio spots will feature on-air personalities including Ryan Seacrest, Steve Harvey, Bobby Bones and Elvis Duran.

Participants supporting the challenge include Arielle Kebbel, Cheyenne Jackson, Chris Cuomo, Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Chambers, Hunter McGrady, Kesha, Mayim Bialik, Oliver Platt, Michael Strahan, Stanley Tucci, Whoopi Goldberg and many more.

Cuomo joins brother-in-law Kenneth Cole in fighting mental health stigma.

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