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Depicting Mental Health
Character & Storyline Development



Panel Group Briefing
From Left to Right: Marie Gallo Dyak (EIC),
Dr. Charles Sophy (Panelist), Carly Steel (Moderator),
Lisa Moskowitz, Griffen Moskowitz, Lisa Becker,
Stephanie Welch (Panelists), and Larry Deutchman (EIC). 
 "The way the media portrays mental illness has the power to update public perception and change public attitude."

-Dr. Robin Kay
Chief Deputy Director of the
LA County Department of Mental Health

What is Mental Illness?

A diagnosis of mental illness is made by professionals using validated indicators of psychological distress and impairment due to emotional problems. In common terms, mental illness can be understood as psychological distress that impairs everyday activities including work, chores, social lives, and relationships.

What is the difference between Mental Health and Mental Illness?

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” 

Click here for more FAQs

Dr. Sophy - Briefing
Panelist Dr. Charles Sophy provided a clinician's perspective to the discussion on mental health.
 new idea that is being explored right now in the child welfare system is  Ambient Trauma, which describes how different events and seemingly insignificant details that happen during childhood can over time weigh on someone's brain, altering it neurologically, leading to greater chances of developing mental health  challenges later in life.
- Dr. Charles Sophy

Check out these presentation highlights from EIC's Mental Health for Storytellers Panelists:

Dr. Sophy - Panel Vignette
Dr. Charles Sophy
Dr. Kay
 Dr. Robin Kay
  Stephanie Welch Panel Shot
Stephanie Welch
 Lisa Becker Panel Shot
Lisa Becker

 Lisa and Griffen
Lisa and Griffen 

Lisa and Stephanie - Briefing Panelists Lisa Becker and Stephanie Welch shared their stories to inform and encourage accurate entertainment.
Suggestions for Character and Storyline Development
Discussions at the briefing were guided by the following priority topics to assist in character and storyline development concerning mental illness:
  • Understand that honest and accurate depictions of mental health promote understanding and acceptance, and help to decrease misperceptions about mental illness among audiences.
  • Recognize the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment in overcoming and managing mental health conditions as well as the role they play in preventing the negative consequences associated with mental illness.
  • Consider the unaddressed challenges that may be faced by the family and friends of the diagnosed individual such as financial hardships, physical and emotional stress, and strain on personal relationships.

Click here for additional depiction suggestions!

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To set up your own FREE First Draft Consultation with one of our experts contact Ashley: 
or 818-840-2016


On September 10, 2012 the Surgeon General held a press conference to release the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

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EIC presents this information with support from
The Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).

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The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA administers programs funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) on a statewide, regional, and local basis.

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