Lizzo, Halsey, Tegan and Sara, Blink-182, Disturbed, Shawn Mendes and a number of other music and sports stars have signed on for a two-hour, commercial free radio special to raise awareness about mental health called "I'm Listening." The Sept. 8 show will air at 7:00 a.m. local time on 235 Entercom radio stations as the kick off to National Suicide Prevention Week.
Mental health professionals and first responders will also take part in the special, which will manifest on each station's livestream on radio.com in their respective time zones. The yearlong "I'm Listening" campaign also includes suicide prevention PSAs, on-air promos and a dedicated website with information and resources about mental health, according to a statement announcing the special. "I'm Listening" will include personal stories from the musicians, athletes and experts, including country singer Michael Ray and NFL players Solomon Thomas and Chris Hubbard.
“Mental health and suicide prevention are year-round initiatives at Entercom and we are doing our part to end the stigma by encouraging people to talk,” said Entercom chief programming officer Pat Paxton in a statement. “Like millions of others, my family has been impacted by mental health issues and the effect it has on friends and families is devastating. ‘I’m Listening’ is when our vast network of radio stations and digital platforms unite on the same day, at the same time, to ultimately save lives. If we help just one person, our time will have been well spent.”
The special will be hosted by KISW in Seattle's BJ Shea along with Dr. Ursula Whiteside, CEO of NowMattersNow.org and will allow listeners to participate through live call-in and an interactive website. “The fact of the matter is, I do have people to talk to. But I get so sad sometimes I feel like there is nothing anyone can say,” said Lizzo. “Nobody can walk inside of your body and fix your brain -- not fix it, but change your brain around to feel things differently. By participating with ‘I’m Listening’ I hope that by sharing my feelings it will help everyone understand that it’s totally normal to have the lows with the highs – and sometimes asking for help is the first step.”
The special will offer advice on discussing mental health and suicide with friends and family and what you can do to help someone you know who is struggling with depression and how to get involved in suicide prevention in your local community.
The broadcast will be augmented by programming throughout National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-13) on Entercom's LGBTQ+ talk radio network CHANNEL Q, available nationwide on RADIO.COM, with additional segments on mental health and suicide prevention.
“I think issues around identity and mental health are intrinsically linked,” said Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara, discussing the double stigma around mental health and discrimination in the LGBTQ community in the statement. “It makes sense to me now, that if I don’t talk about my feelings, I’m not going to feel well, I’m not going to be well. Through the work that we do with The Tegan and Sara Foundation, and some of the staggering statistics surrounding queer people and mental health, we hope that by talking about some of our experiences as young people, that it will encourage others to do the same.”
If someone you know is going through a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.