Free Virtual Event Explores Youth Mental Health Hosted by PBS SoCal and KCET on May 20 In Collaboration with Well Beings

Pictured from Left to Right: Cara Santa Maria (left), Andre Tinoco (right), Event Moderators of PBS’ new national health campaign Well Beings (middle). Photos courtesy of PBS SoCal and KCET.

PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s flagship PBS stations, along with the PBS nationwide initiative Well Beings, announced a free virtual event and discussion examining youth mental health. Well Beings is a multi-platform, multi-year initiative, created by WETA Washington D.C. to address the critical health needs in America through original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events. This project launched with a focus on youth mental health via 34 virtual tour stops in confirmed across the country. The Southern California-based virtual event titled “Lowering Barriers: Race, Income & Mental Health” explores how race and income can have a much greater impact on health than medicine or doctors. Through the perspectives of local experts, young people and a few notable spokespersons/celebrities, attendees will learn how to reduce barriers to mental health support on an individual, community and structural level. The event will be streamed live on Thurs., May 20 at 5 p.m. PT on

For details about the free event or add the event to your calendar, visit Visitors will also find an electronic resource toolkit made up of local and national mental health resources prior to the event.

The event will be split into two separate panels, “Barriers” and “Solutions” and will be moderated by Los Angeles Area Emmy® and Knight Foundation Award-winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, author and podcaster Cara Santa Maria (SOCAL UPDATE Host and Creator/Host of podcast “Talk Nerdy”) as well as 21-year-old student journalist Andre Tinoco (alum of PBS NEWSHOUR’s Student Reporting Labs program and student journalist with “Sac on Scene”). The panels will feature Dr. Manuel Pastor (Distinguished Professor, Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC; Director, USC Equity Research Institute), Roshawn Davis (student and intermediate typist clerk), Katherine Yeom (Executive Director, Korean American Family Services) and Jorge Partida del Toro, Psy.D. (Chief of Psychology, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health). Additional appearances will be made during the event by other notable spokespersons for Well Beings including Bill Pullman (Independence Day), LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow), Dr. Tom Insel (California Mental Health Czar, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health) and more. The event will also feature mental health messages from Miley Cyrus and 24KGoldn from Kaiser Permanente’s Find Your Words public health awareness campaign.

The event will address how the systems and environments that surround young people affect how they view and access mental health support. With inequitable and discriminatory structures in place, finding ways to destigmatize mental health and create pathways for access can be difficult to navigate, a similar theme that was taken on in the recently produced and broadcast KCET Original documentary POWER AND HEALTH.

This PBS SoCal and KCET event is part of the Well Beings Tour, a 34-city tour (2020–2022) of virtual and in-person events where local organizations and community members will discuss youth mental health and provide resources, best practices, youth-focused engagement strategies and support systems. All past national Well Beings Tour events are available to view on

The public, and particularly youth, are facing an increase in mental health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by ongoing racial injustice and structural inequality. On July 14, 2020, WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, launched Well Beings featuring a virtual event with young people, experts and notable personalities urging the country towards a more thoughtful conversation about mental health conditions. unveiled the “Youth Mental Health Project,” which features original broadcast and digital content, a national tour of impactful community events, social media campaigns, interactive storytelling and information on mental health resources from project partners — all emphasizing the mental health needs, lived experiences and voices of youth. The Well Beings Virtual National Town Hall is available to view at

The online hub also allows the public to share their stories via the We Are Well Beings Storywall, which showcases the shared stories and experiences of mental health from people across the country. The space offers hope, fosters understanding, builds community and breaks down stigma. The Storywall encourages users to share videos, photographs or short text stories about their experiences with mental health. Users can submit their stories on or use the hashtag #WellBeings.

Also, as part of the campaign, Well Beings is creating youth-focused digital and broadcast content, including the digital-first documentary BRAVE HIGH, featuring student reporting about mental health from PBS NEWSHOUR Student Reporting Labs, additional live events with American Public Media, and a series of short films entitled OUT OF THE DARK (working title). The Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project will culminate with a new four-hour documentary, produced and directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers and executive produced by Ken Burns called HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: OUR MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS (working title), slated to premiere in 2022, which will explore how young people are addressing their mental health needs and the overall impact of mental health stigma and stress on today’s youth.

Local support is also provided from our partners at WE RISE, a month-long initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, offering a series of free, COVID-safe community programs, events and experiences highlighting the healing powers of art and connection during Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

The public can join the conversation on youth mental health by using #WellBeings, or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Funding Support
The Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project is made possible by Otsuka, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, 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. The project underwriters are leveraging their organizational resources to support Well Beings and have created a video, available to view at

National Engagement & Content Partners
WETA has assembled a wide range of partners to collaborate on the project, both for digital content and the Well Beings Tour. In addition to local public media stations, the project includes 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.

PBS SoCal and KCET are both part of the donor-supported community institution, the Public Media Group of Southern California. PBS SoCal is the flagship PBS station for diverse people across California and delivers content and experiences that inspire, inform and educate. PBS SoCal offers the full slate of beloved PBS programs including MASTERPIECE, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, FRONTLINE, and a broad library of documentary films with works from Ken Burns; as well as educational content including PBS KIDS programs like DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and CURIOUS GEORGE. KCET showcases the best of PBS and is a leading source for arts, culture, and news in Southern California. Through innovative storytelling, KCET explores and expresses our dynamic local communities helping residents understand and connect with the region’s diverse communities and ideas. For additional information about both KCET and PBS SoCal productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit and KCET Originals and PBS programming are available to stream on the FREE PBS App on iOS and Android devices, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Chromecast. KCET is also available to watch live on YouTube TV.

About Well Beings
The Well Beings campaign addresses the critical health needs in America through original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events. The multi-platform, multi-year campaign, created by WETA Washington, D.C., brings together partners from across the country, including youth with lived experience, families, caregivers, teachers, 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. To learn more, visit or follow @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and join the conversation with #WellBeings.

About WETA Washington, D.C.
WETA is the leading public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio and digital. WETA Washington, D.C., is the second largest producing-station of new content for public television in the United States, with news and public affairs programs including PBS NEWSHOUR and WASHINGTON WEEK; films by Ken Burns such as COUNTRY MUSIC, KEN BURNS PRESENTS THE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY and THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY; series and documentaries by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. (Seasons 3-7), RECONSTRUCTION: AMERICA AFTER THE CIVIL WAR and THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG; and performance specials including THE KENNEDY CENTER MARK TWAIN PRIZE and THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at Visit on Facebook or follow @WETAtvfm on Twitter.