Local broadcasters across the country are providing mental, physical and emotional support resources to their viewers and listeners to help ease the strain of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stations are playing a critical role in keeping their communities active, engaged and connected every day.
iHeartMedia has partnered with The Mental Health Coalition and Kenneth Cole to launch the "How Are You, Really?" PSA campaign intended to help end the stigma surrounding mental health. The PSAs feature Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones and Steve Harvey and challenge listeners to answer this question as honestly as they can and inspire others to do the same to help destigmatize all mental health conditions. The PSAs will air throughout Mental Health Awareness Month. Additionally, an iHeartRadio-hosted 30-minute public affairs show discussing the effects of COVID-19 on mental health is airing nationwide across all its radio stations this month.
On May 7, Alpha Media held a virtual keynote entitled “Now What? Tools for Difficult Times.” Author and Ted Talk alum Greg Bell was the featured speaker along with special guest and Grammy Award winner Meghan Trainor. Nearly 1,000 people tuned in for the event.
"The goal of the event was to offer our employees and clients positive and actionable planning strategies to maximize personal and professional opportunities as we begin the re-entry phase of this crisis," said CEO Bob Proffitt.
Columbus’ WCMH investigated why Mental Health Awareness Month is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Uncertainty has been one of the biggest challenges during this pandemic. Americans have felt it with regards to employment, finances and the coronavirus itself. Combine all of that with “stay at home” orders increasing isolation, and it’s a perfect storm for mental struggles,” the station reported.
WCBS recently aired a story about how the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may long outlast the physical effects. “For many of us this is the most traumatic event we have witnessed in our lifetimes, and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions,” Dr. Robin Goodman said in the report. WCBS also included a list of mental health resources during the segment.
Bakersfield’s KGET-TV recently aired an interview with Dr. Corey Gonzales, a licensed clinical psychologist, to discuss how the coronavirus has impacted mental health during the pandemic.
"The stress of life as we knew it is impacting individuals on economic, physical, social and emotional levels that can be traumatic," reported KTSM. The story highlighted an increase in cases of domestic violence as people stay home due to social distancing orders and provided a list of resources for those seeking to leave these situations.
KSNT ran an interview with the National Alliance on Mental Health detailing ways to take care of yourself physically and emotionally while social distancing. The story suggested viewers try “anything from journaling, exercise, cooking and trying new hobbies” to keep their mental health in check.
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services launched a toll-free warmline to help Michiganders with persistent mental health issues amid the pandemic. Callers are able to speak with certified, peer-support specialists who have experience with mental and behavioral health, trauma and other issues. WOOD-TV covered the announcement and outlined the many uses of this new resource.
Salt Lake City’s KTVX aired an interview with Dr. Amber Mackey of the Ogden Regional Medical Center about the effects of chronic stress and what local resources are available to combat stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHTM Harrisburg aired a segment discussing the various ways COVID-19 has brought new stressors into people’s lives and the guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides for dealing with stress.
KRON reported on the mental health challenges healthcare providers and other frontline workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Medical experts say a lot of what healthcare workers are seeing is similar to what members of the military see in combat,” the station reported.
KXAN brought their viewers’ attention to a new COVID-19 resource hub, a compilation of free digital resources designed to help individuals and healthcare providers with mental health challenges during the pandemic.
The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters spotlighted a course on understanding the difference between stress and burnout and how to manage each, noting how they are on the rise with more people working from home and added financial and mental stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an effort to keep spirits high during these days of social distancing, WPLW-FM in Hillsborough, N.C., held a distance dance party. Listeners were encouraged to join friends over Zoom, Instagram or other virtual platforms to dance along to a commercial-free, citywide party.
Brattleboro’s WKVT-FM recently held an online trivia night to keep their listeners staying at home entertained. Listeners raced to answer pop culture questions and win prizes supporting local businesses.
iHeartMedia brought local musicians out to a senior living facility in Kapuna, Hawaii, on Mother’s Day to bring some cheer to the isolated residents. The band played outside the building and brought a smile to the face of one particular resident who was celebrating her 100th birthday.
All of Fargo, N.D., united one morning through three songs played by KOYY-FM. The station asked listeners to take photos and videos of themselves dancing and posted the submissions on the station’s website, bringing community and cheer to everyone.
WIVK Knoxville morning show hosts Tony and Kris shared with their listeners five signs that you might be more stressed than usual. Making sure you know and can combat the signs of stress is important to maintaining your mental health through difficult times.
Your local broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical support to their communities, even as they struggle from a steep decline in advertising revenue. Read more stories about broadcasters’ public service at BroadcastPublicService.org.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.