The national “Love, Your Mind” campaign - a collaboration between the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council, in partnership with Black Players for Change, today unveiled a new public service advertisement (PSA) encouraging individuals, particularly men of color, to make their mental health a priority. The campaign is designed to create a more open, accepting, and proactive society when it comes to mental health.
The PSA (also available in Spanish) stars current D.C. United soccer players and Black Players for Change members Matai Akinmboni and Cristian Dájome along with former players Bill Hamid, Chris Odoi-Atsem, and Donovan Pines. As the players acknowledge the pressures they feel and the importance of leaning on one another for support, the video encourages viewers to likewise find strength in being vulnerable. The video directs audiences to LoveYourMindToday.org for free mental health resources.
"Black Players for Change is compelled to emphasize the critical importance of open and transparent conversations about mental health,” said Allen Hopkins, Jr., executive director, Black Players for Change. “The complexities of our experiences as Black individuals in America demand recognition, understanding, and dialogue. Together, in steadfast partnership with the Love Your Mind campaign, we are helping to build a culture where every voice is heard, every struggle acknowledged, and where the journey toward mental health is a path we walk hand in hand."
According to research fielded by the Ad Council in October 2023, 64% of Black and 63% of Hispanic adults report having a mental health condition, whether professionally or self-diagnosed, rates higher than the general population (55%). Of those with a condition, only 43% and 42%, respectively, say they are getting help or treatment.
“We’re grateful to Black Players for Change for joining this important effort to help destigmatize mental health challenges and provide tips and resources to help everyone thrive,” said Dr. William A. Smith, chief administrative officer for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “People of color in our country face unique challenges, including ongoing experiences of racism that can lead to ‘racial battle fatigue,’ and we’re proud to develop messages and resources that acknowledge and uplift them.”
D.C. United supported the creation of the PSA by donating access to filming at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The video features the song “Do Better,” which was provided pro bono by Top Dawg Entertainment’s rapper, Ab-Soul. The PSA will appear nationwide in advertising space donated by the media.
“Working with athletes to break down the stigma surrounding mental health offers a unique opportunity to reach our audiences through the influential voices they look to both on and off the field,” said Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer, of the Ad Council. "Together with such incredible partners, we are changing the game by spreading a message of empathy, resilience, and empowerment that will resonate beyond the field."
The “Love, Your Mind” campaign first launched in October 2023 with PSAs designed to resonate with Black and Hispanic men. Throughout 2024 and beyond, PSAs, events, and partnerships including this collaboration with Black Players for Change will extend this work and reach additional distinct audiences within the millions of U.S. adults who experience mental health challenges while also holding attitudes and beliefs that may discourage them from seeking help.
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About Huntsman Mental Health Institute
Huntsman Mental Health Institute at University of Utah Health brings together 75 years of patient care, research, and education into one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers focused on mental health. Nestled in the campus of University of Utah, Huntsman Mental Health Institute serves the community with 1,600 faculty and staff in 20 locations providing inpatient and outpatient services for youth, teens, and adults as well as a comprehensive crisis care model which includes the nationally recognized SafeUT app and the 988 crisis hotline for Utah. Our mission is to advance mental health knowledge, hope and healing for all. Learn more at HMHI.utah.edu and join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, X and LinkedIn.
About The Ad Council
The Ad Council convenes creative storytellers to educate, unite, and uplift audiences by opening hearts, inspiring action, and accelerating change around the most pressing issues in America. Since the non-profit’s founding, the organization and its partners in advertising, media, marketing, and tech have been behind some of the country’s most iconic social impact campaigns – Smokey Bear, A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Love Has No Labels, Tear the Paper Ceiling and many more. With a current focus on mental health, gun safety, the opioid epidemic, skill-based hiring, and other critical issues, the Ad Council’s national campaigns encompass advertising and media content, ground game and community efforts, trusted messenger and influencer engagement, and employer programs, among other innovative strategies to move the needle on the most important issues of the day.
In November 2022, the Ad Council announced a Mental Health Initiative, uniting brands, marketers, media companies, and nonprofits to address the mental health crisis throughout the U.S. at scale. With a founding investment from Huntsman Mental Health Institute, the multi-year initiative aims to change social norms and create a society that is more open, accepting and proactive when it comes to mental health.
About Black Players for Change
Black Players for Change is an independent 501(c)(3) organization consisting of over 170+ Black players, coaches, and staff of Major League Soccer, working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society. Black Players for Change is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society. Among the many goals, the organization strives to advance the attention on human rights inequalities from protests to programs, partnerships, and policies that address systemic discrimination.
About D.C. United
One of the founding clubs of Major League Soccer in 1996, D.C. United are among the most decorated teams in the United States with 13 domestic and international trophies. D.C. United have called the District home for the past 27 seasons and play their home games at Audi Field in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of Southwest, Washington, D.C, which opened in 2018. In addition to D.C. United Games, the 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium hosts over 100 events year-round, including the District’s premier arts, culinary, and music festival, Unite the District Fest. Audi Field is also home to America’s number-one sportsbook through a partnership with FanDuel Group. The Black-and-Red have won the MLS Cup four times (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004), the Supporters’ Shield four times (1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007) and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup three times (1996, 2008 and 2013). For more information and club updates, please sign up for our newsletter and find us on social media @dcunited.