Babette Apland on the Mental Health Initiative Call to Mind

May 29, 2018

A letter from Babette Apland, Managing Director of the American Public Media Mental Health Initiative

As we soak in the sun and longer days this spring, mental health is also stepping out of the darkness and into the sunlight. People are posting and blogging about mental health. Almost every week a new celebrity or star athlete comes out about their experience, and community leaders are identifying mental health as a top priority. I cannot imagine a better time to launch Call to Mind, APM’s five-year initiative to inform and mobilize new conversations about mental health.

Six months ago, I joined American Public Media Group to lead Call to Mind. I left a long career leading the growth and establishment of a variety of health care services, including most recently a large outpatient and inpatient mental health care service. I had a front-row seat for seeing how differently we approach mental health care as individuals, providers, health care systems and as employers and government organizations.

Mental health and wellbeing is an important aspect of everyone’s life. We all experience varying levels of mental health through our lifetime. According to the CDC, half of us will experience a mental illness at some time in our life. Yet we are still hobbled by misunderstanding and misconception that frankly lead to prejudice and discrimination. And people experiencing a mental illness still blame themselves, suffer in silence and go without treatment.

We are at a tipping point, on the cusp of real change in how we understand and address mental health. There is no better time for Call to Mind to leverage all our media platforms—news and music programming, podcasts and live events—to amplify and accelerate conversations about mental health.

Call to Mind’s goal is to open minds and engage hearts around mental health, and with your help we can transform how we talk about it, how we care for it, and how we fund and support it. This includes individuals taking care of their mental wellbeing just like physical wellbeing, and understanding it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help. It includes our health care systems providing timely and easy access to care. It includes schools and employers creating environments that support mental wellbeing.  And It includes each of us starting our own conversations and supporting others in starting theirs.

Talking about mental health is critical for us to move forward. I invite you to join the conversation at or @calltomindnow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and show your support by posting, “I’m joining the mental health conversation” with the hashtag #calltomind.