Menu Close Search Close

February 10, 2021 Press Release

Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project Debuts “Out of the Dark” Web-Series

New Video Series Featuring Raven Saunders, Hannah Lucas, and AKeem Rollins to Premiere Monthly on Newly Redesigned Well Beings Webpage

Washington, D.C. — February 10, 2021 — Today, WELL BEINGS, a major public media campaign addressing the health needs of Americans created by the ​flagship public media station in the nation’s capital WETA, announced the premiere of a new web-series OUT OF THE DARK produced by Redglass Pictures, which will become available for viewing on the newly launched Well Beings website. OUT OF THE DARK is a part of Well Beings’ ongoing national awareness campaign, Youth Mental Health Project, focused on addressing the mental health challenges of young people during this unique moment. 

OUT OF THE DARK and other Well Beings website content will serve as a part of a multi-year mental health awareness campaign to include feature-length documentary films, short-form content, user-generated storytelling, a digital and social media campaign, and educational curriculum to demystify and destigmatize health through storytelling created by WETA, with support from a broad coalition of partners. 

The three-part web-series showcases the personal stories of three of the most influential youth activists in the mental health space — Olympic athlete Raven Saunders, App Creator Hannah Lucas, and poet AKeem Rollins — as they take on the fundamental question: “How do you define mental toughness?” These are the stories of three young people who faced the greatest challenge of their lives and found strength they never knew they had. Premiering monthly, each episode takes an in-depth look at the struggles these three leaders overcame, the impact of their work, and their continued mental health journeys. 

Olympic shot putter Raven Saunders is featured in the first episode of the OUT OF THE DARK series. The episode dives deep into Raven’s childhood trauma, the intensity of her 2016 Olympic experience, and the pitfalls of celebrity that challenged her mental health. After receiving care for depression, Raven spoke out about the difficulty she faced and became a leading advocate for mental health dialogue among athletes. 

Poet AKeem Rollins, known for his viral slam poetry piece “Suicide Note,” is the second to be featured in the OUT OF THE DARK series. The episode examines the story behind the poem — after being kicked out of his home at fourteen after coming out to his mother, Akeem faced bullying, homelessness, and depression. After receiving emergency mental health care, he finished “Suicide Note” with a positive ending, the speaker’s decision to continue living, and has since become a vocal activist in the mental health space. 

In the third episode of OUT OF THE DARK, activist Hannah Lucas shares the story of her chronic illness, struggles with anxiety and depression, and suicidal ideation, which led her to develop the app notOK alongside her brother. The app, which now has over one hundred thousand users, provides users with emergency mental health care at the press of a button. Hannah discusses the massive impact notOK has had on her mental health and the lives it has changed across the country. 

“”As filmmakers, making a series on mental illness seemed daunting at first – how do you tell an engaging visual story about someone’s internal struggles? But once we started making these films we quickly realized that these are the mostly fundamentally powerful kinds of stories,” said Tom Mason and Sarah Klein, producers of the series, “Each of these characters has faced a battle with life-threatening stakes and lived to tell the tale. Their stories are inspiring, unvarnished, and raw… and exactly what we need to finally shatter the stigma of silence around mental illness.”

A brief preview of the series can be found here, and the episodes will stream monthly on the newly redesigned site Wellbeings.org. To learn more about the WETA Well Beings Initiative and other upcoming website and broadcast content, check out the webpage. Links to press screeners of episodes are available prior to release upon request.  

ABOUT WELL BEINGS

Well Beings is a multi-platform, multi-year campaign from public media to address the critical health needs in America through original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events. The campaign begins 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 was created by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, and brings together partners from across the country, including youth with lived experience of mental 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 wellbeing. The public can join the conversation on youth mental health by using #WellBeings, visiting WellBeings.org, or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

The Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project is made possible by Otsuka, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, 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 Behavioral Health, The Steve Fund, and The Jed Foundation. The project underwriters are leveraging their organizational resources to support Well Beings and have created a video, available to view at youtu.be/6Ke4BTivJzU.

ABOUT REDGLASS PICTURESRedglass Pictures is an award-winning production studio co-founded by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason and based in New York City. Their body of work is defined by a simple idea: that short, cinematic storytelling has the power to touch, teach, and change people. Redglass recently won a Webby and Tribeca award for their four-part series, History of Memory. Before that, Redglass created a four-part installation piece on Vietnam for the New-York Historical Society, and was part of the team that won a duPont for their a twenty-part digital series: Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies with PBS. Ongoing partners and clients include: HP, New-York Historical Society, MIT, The New York Times, The Atlantic, PBS, and The National Academy of Science.

WellBeings.org is a mental health resource, not a crisis or suicide response website. If you are in crisis, or experiencing thoughts of suicide, please text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.