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mtvU & The Jed Foundation Go Beyond 'March Madness,' Spring Break & 5th Anniversary of Iraq War, Dedicating March Programming to College Students' Mental Health

Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, Cage Reveal Struggles With Depression and

Suicidal Thoughts For Emmy-Nominated 'Half Of Us' Campaign New mtvU / Associated Press Mental Health Poll, Profiles of Student War

Veterans and Athletes Coping with Mental Health Challenges

NEW YORK, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- March is a time when college basketball and the annual spring break sojourn place college students in the national spotlight, with millions rallying to celebrate the excitement and fun of the month. Meanwhile, midterms, looming graduation, spring break stressors and the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war -- which personally affects a significant percentage of the college audience -- weigh heavy on students' minds.

mtvU, MTV's Emmy-winning college network, and The Jed Foundation, the leading nonprofit focused on preventing suicide and reducing emotional distress among college students, today launched a month of special programming that addresses these seasonal stressors -- and continues to attack the very real stigma that's made suicide the second leading cause of death for college students. A component of the Emmy-nominated "Half of Us" campaign, the programming will focus on the toll stress and other emotional issues are having on the national college audience, pointing students to anonymous online resources and where to get help on-campus. Select elements include:

-- Billy Corgan "Half of Us" special -- In a feature directed by acclaimed

filmmaker Joel Schumacher, The Smashing Pumpkins' lead singer opens up

about how success and instant fame unleashed the permanent scars of

childhood abuse, which he was raised to ignore. He also extols how

accepting personal limitations and utilizing resources can help college

students cope with depression and suicidal tendencies. Debuting today

on mtvU and available online at

-- Cage "Half of Us" special -- Respected indie rap artist Cage talks

frankly about how he's used music to fight drug abuse and psychotic

tendencies. He discusses how time spent in a mental institution became

creative inspiration - channeling dark experiences to counter thoughts

of weakness and depression. Debuts March 10th on mtvU and

-- Iraqi War Student Veterans -- Student soldiers from both coasts speak

out about the challenges of readjusting to college life and how they're

overcoming them. A leading expert on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

discusses the resources available for returning war vets and the unique

difficulties of going from war to the campus quad. Debuts March 17th

on mtvU and

-- mtvU & The Associated Press College Mental Health Poll -- An in-depth

look at the impact stress and depression are having on the national

college audience -- particularly at this pivotal point of the semester.

The poll will provide fresh insights into how the war, starting a

career, campus safety, technology, substance abuse and other factors

affect college students' stress levels and mental health today -- and

where they are, or are not, turning for help. Findings to be released

during the last two weeks of March.

-- "Alive Campaign" founders host "Dean's List" -- The Baylor University

students who founded the suicide prevention non-profit "Alive Campaign"

take over an episode of mtvU's top 10 video countdown "Dean's List."

The students will share their favorite videos and talk about their

upcoming bike trek from Waco, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska, with the aim

of reducing student suicide and depression. Debuts March 10th on mtvU


-- New mental health PSAs -- mtvU will debut a new series of public

service announcements throughout the month, focused on the growing

prevalence of student cutting, self-inflicted injuries, and how a

paucity of mental health resources affects students and non-students

alike. On air throughout the month and on demand at

-- New student portraits -- Brittany and Nina, of the University of

Tennessee women's basketball team, talk about the unique stresses

student athletes face. Scott, a Kuztown University graduate, shares how

he faced life after college and a sinking sense of depression. Megan,

of Rutgers, discusses her harrowing battle with anorexia. New features

debuting every Monday for the next three weeks on

"March is a month when the nation celebrates college culture, and this year we aim to use the moment to spark a dialogue about the serious mental health issues going unaddressed on college campuses -- claiming the lives of countless students each year," said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU. "Our special 'Half of Us' March programming is part of a year-round commitment to chipping away at the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health, as well as connecting students to the necessary resources."

Launched in November of 2006, "Half of Us" is mtvU and The Jed Foundation's Emmy-nominated campaign to reduce the student suicide rate, fight the stigma of mental health on college campuses and connect students to the help they need. The backbone of the campaign is The site features a wide array of programming and resources, including Mary J. Blige, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Max Bemis of Say Anything, Brittany Snow and a collection of college students from diverse backgrounds speaking candidly about their personal struggles with serious mental health issues. The centerpiece of the site is an anonymous self-evaluator screening tool -- developed by the Duke University Medical Center -- which analyzes a user's current state of mind and customizes feedback based on the student's school and available resources. The site also features an action center, enabling students to get involved in mental health awareness on their campus or in their community, and other tools encouraging students to realize they are not alone in needing help.

The "Half of Us" campaign takes its name from research* showing that nearly half of all college students have felt so depressed they could not function, and addresses the reality that suicide is the second leading killer of college students. An mtvU and Jed Foundation study from 2006 found that nearly half (49%) of college students feel their peers wouldn't seek help for emotional issues because they aren't aware of resources for help or treatment. For full findings of the "mtvU College Mental Health Study: Stress, Depression, Stigma & Students," please visit

* American College Health Association, National College Health Assessment,

spring 2005.

About The Jed Foundation

Since its inception in 2000, The Jed Foundation has become the nation's leading organization working to reduce the rate of suicide and the prevalence of emotional distress among college students. Guided by an expert board of mental health professionals, the organization works to identify the underlying causes of suicide and produce effective prevention, awareness and intervention programs. The Jed Foundation was founded by Phil and Donna Satow after they lost their 20-year-old son, Jed, to suicide. The Jed Foundation's programs, informed by both clinical and public health perspectives, target the full range of audiences who can influence college mental health, including students, colleges, politicians, mental health professionals and parents.

The Jed Foundation's programs include ULifeline, an anonymous, confidential, online resource center, where college students can be comfortable searching for the information they need and want regarding mental health and suicide prevention. Currently, more than 1,500 colleges and universities participle in the ULifeline Network.

About mtvU

Broadcast to more than 750 colleges across the country, with a combined enrollment of over 7.5 million, mtvU is the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others -- reaching 2.6 million viewers in 700 college communities nationwide. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can't be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and pro-social initiatives. mtvU is always on campus, with more than 500 events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit

mtvU also owns and operates the College Media Network, the largest interactive network of online college newspapers in the US, and, the Internet's largest listing of collegiate professor ratings. The College Media Network comprises 550 campus publications that serve institutions including Brown University, the University of Illinois, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and Duke University, with a combined enrollment of over 5.5 million students, reaching an average of 5 million unique users each month. reaches approximately 2.9 million college students each month, via the site's more than 6.6 million student-generated ratings of over 1,000,000 college professors.

MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 150 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN/THE N, VH1 CLASSIC, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of these networks trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 300 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services and also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.

Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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