Kenneth Cole has formed The Mental Health Coalition, an initiative that will bring together nonprofits, businesses, brands, celebrities and influencers in a coordinated effort to destigmatize mental health conditions.
Cole revealed his plans today, which is World Mental Health Day.
The effort to re-brand the way mental health is described aims to introduce a new spoken and visual vocabulary and create a cultural shift. The coalition will also develop an online platform and digital resource hub for those seeking help or guidance that will launch to the general public in May, Mental Health Awareness Month.
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will experience a mental health condition in their lives. The first step will be to address the impact of the stigma related to mental health on youth ages 15 to 25, which is believed to be the time when mental illness most often presents itself and treatments are more likely to have a long-term impact.
The founding partners joining Cole are the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Bring Change to Mind; Child Mind Institute; Crisis Text Line; JED Foundation; Mental Health America; National Alliance on Mental Illness, and The Trevor Project.
“I’m overwhelmed by the inspiring group of individuals and organizations who have agreed to join us in this critical effort to tackle an unprecedented crisis in an unprecedented way,” Cole said. “There is a role for everyone to play. We look forward to welcoming all like-minded organizations to join this collaborative effort at Thementalhealthcoalition.org.”
The design firm Pentagram created the visual identity for the organization, which incorporates a symbol that reflects a “square peg in a round hole,” representing those who feel they don’t “fit in.”
Cole is a longtime board member and former chairman of amfAR, and current goodwill ambassador for UNAIDS.
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