CBS cares about reducing mental illness stigma

by Cody Dolan on June 3, 2010 · 26 comments

in bipolar disorder

In case you missed it, CBS recently ran a public service announcement (PSA) about bipolar disorder as part of the network’s “CBS Cares” series. In it, Mark Harmon, the star of NCIS, gives the audience a short, sweet and incredibly compelling definition of the disease. He goes on to say that most people suffer from bipolar disorder for years without diagnosis because the symptoms can be confused with other illnesses, like depression, and encourages his audience to learn more.

PSA

Below you’ll find the video. I’d prefer to give you the clip straight from the source to give CBS their props, but the network’s website doesn’t allow embedding.

Mark Harmon’s PSA about bipolar disorder

You might be thinking, “Big deal, it’s just a PSA that very few people see because everyone has a DVR nowadays and fast forwards through commercials.” You’d be wrong.

Well, you’d be mostly wrong. Yes, a lot of people might miss this PSA because commercials are annoying and we all hate them.

But the PSA I saw was the full 30-second version. That’s 30 seconds of Mark Harmon talking straight to the audience with no cutaways. Even if you’re skipping over commercials, you’ll notice that the normal screen full of flashing images has stopped and been replaced by a static talking head.

And this is Mark Harmon, not the 4th male lead of the 3rd CSI spinoff. NCIS was once the #1 show in all the land despite the fact that no one you know will admit to watching it. (Full disclosure:  I watched it up until this year when my two-year-old daughter decided it was her mission in life to wear her parents out so they are in bed by 10 pm every night.) It’s now comfortably in the top 20 and gets close to 4.5 million viewers a week in the key 18-49 demographic.

In other words, Mark Harmon may not be a huge or “hot” name, relatively speaking, but he is a big deal.

Besides being mostly wrong, you’d also miss the point. Harmon directs you to CBSCares.tv, a site dedicated to raising awareness for several causes. Among the usual cancer- and civil rights-related topics you’ll find two that we deal with at The Menninger Clinic:  bipolar disorder and depression. And it doesn’t appear to be lip service. Take a look around and see what you think.

Here we have “America’s Most Watched Network” devoting a full 30 seconds of important advertising space during prime time to discussing a mental illness that a lot of people either don’t know about or like to downplay as a punch line.

Changing minds

You might think “CBS Cares” is trite or insincere or only exists out of the network’s obligation to the FCC, and at one point I might have agreed with you. But then I saw a huge force in the entertainment industry devote quality time to an issue that doesn’t seem to garner as much attention in the media, let alone around the proverbial water cooler, as it should. So I changed my mind.

Thank you, CBS. You’ve helped me feel better about liking The Big Bang Theory so much.

(As if I needed another reason. Come on, that show’s hilarious.)

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 26 comments }

dawn mcferron January 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

i so understand tina where you are coming from my son hadd add ohdd as a child i thought he grew out of it he’s now 23 and has a new baby he lost his job and totaled his car in one day. that sent him into a depression wich turned into manic eppesodes wich are out of controll i wonder every day if my son will be here i try to get him help but as they sAy you can lead a horse to water but cant make him drink.he dont want to except he has this disorder so he wont take meds on a everyday basis like he should,i know if he would take everyday for 1 month he would feel better but i cant get any help because they say he is an adult well what do you do just watch your child destroy therself’s and wait for them to be dead or as your case wind up in jail that isnt the answer they dont need jail what they need is help what is wrong with this country they want to help kids all around the world while our own children are looked over and locked away please help i dont know how to handle him im trying to do everything i can to prevent an out of control episode when this happens he is know longer the son i have known and loved its like no one is behind his eyes and someone else has taken over his mind.

Paula McGallion January 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

CBS cares? Why because they give up 30 seconds of their air time? Bipolar is serious. I’m a sufferer along with 2 of my children, it’s a daily struggle for the entire family and anyone else we encounter. People with this disorder generally don’t want to admit they have a problem. Just because Mark Harmon gets on television and says ‘be aware’, how does this help? No matter what, people just want to call us crazy and be done with us. It’s easier to disregard us than to attempt to understand. Mark’s 30 seconds said to visit your site, but I don’t know why, you have no more information on your site that I see. So what are you trying to prove CBS?

Marie Lapage January 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

I have a twelve year old grandson i have custody o and i am having difficulty with him. he has been in three hospitals so far and because of his insurance they only hold him for two weeks if that. they are telling me they do not see any thing wrong he is just very bright. I know there is something wrong. His mom is 34 years old and left him behind many times. now she was diangonize with bipolar and has nothing as far as a life and medication. my grandson is suffering as far as keeping friends his self esteem could not get any lower. he strikes out at me. verbally and physillay. i have many people and proffesionally people helping me. but we are getting no where. now i am tole he is deppreses. well hello of course he is. i guess it takes time and the wright meds are important but how do you get there? how long does it take. i do feel he has the right doctors and the right care.

Lori January 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm

I have a 28yr old daughter who had problems as a young teen. We got her help and she was pretty good for the most part for over 10 years. Her Grandma passed away in May 2010 and it threw her into an downer episode. She was finally diagnosed with bi-polar disease in June of 2011 after multiple suicide attempt and started mood stabilizing medications. She still has so many bad days life is so hard for all of us. She has left her husband of 10′years, her rock and 2 children for a looser and lives in a little rental by herself. She is a broken young women. How can I help her? I am so scared she will give up and end her life. She is getting help and medicine but they are just not doing their job.

DM January 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

CBScares.tv doesn’t exist. I get redirected to http://www.cbs.com/error/500

Lot of ppl will get help there? ROFL

Pam Wehking January 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Personally touched by MI , this is a much needed conversation to not only reach the undiagnosed, but the familiar face of a trusted celeb like Mark Harmon is so heartfelt…. Our nation needs everyone to know that we do place stigma on diabetes or other physical health concerns and one cannot possibly have a healthy body w/o a healthy mind. Thank you to CBS but especially Mark Harmon! You are the best!

MT hernandez December 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

To Mark Harmon, your BiPolar Disorder ad keeps getting cut off Why?
To this day we have not seen the whole ad/message

Tina Terrell December 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm

i also want to say that i love ncis and i think mark harmon still has it he like a good wine gets better with age

Tina Terrell December 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

oh yea and for the record what do you do when your child is so stubborn that he doesn’t think he has a problem he has a six year old daughter that he won’t even seek help for it he says that he has a gift from GOD he manic with schizophrenic physcotic features he so whacked he thinks that everything he is doing is to save people souls if it means killing them or hisself

Tina Terrell December 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

i really don’tknow what to say i have been fighting for my sons life since he was 16 years old i have had him pick up only to be release in 3 days saying that they have him on meds and he should be ok my sons bipolar is cause from stress they said because it was ten years before he had another episode. He had a job a langedale ford he worked for eight years without meds or episode then he got married and his wife said she loved him so much she would help him through it. Well second episode she divorce him and took everything he had home car his life she called the law to him and had him lock up,langedale used that as an excused to fired him. Now i had him pick up again with a severe case of it and because he had no drugs in his system they let him go now he is in dallas texas jail loosing his mind because of this disorder and i have sent them the papers where he has been diagnosed with bipolar with mixed episodes and physcotic features well i will tell you this CBS MIGHT CAREbut NOONE ELSE DOES EXCEPT THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE THIR CHILDREN DIAGNOSED WITH AND CAN”T GET NO ONE TO HELP THEM BECAUSE THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE GROWN it doesn’t matter if you LOVE them but i can guarantee that if you were a drug addict mom or a alcholic you could get all the help you can that just the way i’ve seen it played out

Anne W. Lupton November 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

So sorry you’re hurting. Please reach out to your therapist or go to your nearest ER for help.

Karen Padecky November 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I’ve been through therapy for oveover 20 years, I’ve only gotten worse. I’m at the end of my rope. The pain inside hurts so mucn. I’m lost ..confused & find no way out. I just was never meant to be..why else can I not fit into life..

Dianne November 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

pacificpsych

Who do you think you are? I have a 32yr old who has had a severe case of
Manic Depresson since the day she was born. I thought she had a demon in
her. I told doctors and her father(who had masters in phsycology, they all
told me it was because she was so intelligent. I’m sorry I disagreed, I knew there was something wrong. !5yrs. later I finally took her to a child
physciatrist, sure enough she Manic Depressed Bibolar. I took many years
even after to find medication that worked. In and out of hospitals, jail, &
even 1yr in prision. I don’t think, I know a outstanding number of people
have know idea what or understand Bibolar. They think it is bad behavior.
and the parent needs to disipline their child. I KNOW COMPLETELY WHAT
BIBLOAR MANIC IS. I synpathize for parents who have a child with this diaorder. IT HAS REALLY TAKEN A TOLL ON ME. BUT, AS PARENT YOU HAVE TO HOLD OF THEM AND DON’T EVER LET GO!!!!!!
She now is on the right meds and has 6 mo old baby boy and doing wonder-
ful. I never been so proud of her. She is a great mother

GOD BLESS ,
HOLD ON ALWAYS, THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF TUNNEL

Dianne November 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

pacificpsych

Who do you think you are? I have a 32yr old who has had a severe case of
Manic Depresson since the day she was born. I thought she had a demon in
her. I told doctors and her father(who had masters in phsycology, they all
told me it was because she was so intelligent. I’m sorry I disagreed, I knew there was something wrong. !5yrs. later I finally took her to a child
physciatrist, sure enough she Manic Depressed Bibolar. I took many years
even after to find medication that worked. In ans out of hospitals, jail, &
even 1yr in prision. I don’t think, I know a outstanding number of people
have know idea what or understand Bibolar. They think it is bad behavior.
and the parent needs to disipline their child. I KNOW COMPLETELY WHAT
BIBLOAR MANIC IS. I synpathize for parents who have a child with this diaorder. IT HAS REALLY TAKEN A TOLL ON ME. BUT, AS PARENT YOU HAVE TO HOLD OF THEM AND DON’T EVER LET GO!!!!!!
She now is on the right meds and has 6 mo old baby boy and doing wonder-
ful. I never been so proud of her. She is a great mother

GOD BLESS ,
HOLD ON ALWAYS, THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF TUNNEL

katluver November 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Ok, people. I have bipolar disorder as well, and I think this ad is great
The whole campaign is great (go CBS!)… one thought, tho…
Why not get a star who actually has bipolar disorder? I’m sure there are many! Especially considering that many of us with this condition are very talented, very artistic, too! That would go even farther in eliminating stigma… if someone with the disease stood up & said “I am not ashamed!” Just a thought!

JILLIAN November 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

THANK YOU MARK HARMON FOR YOUR PIECE ON BI-POLAR DISEASE. I HAVE BEEN SUFFERING WITH BI-POLAR FOR OVER 15 YEARS, NOW MEDICATED WITH THE PERFECT “COCKTAIL” I NO LONGER SUFFER ANYMORE AND NOW A FEW OF MY FRIENDS HAVE DISCOVERED THEY ARE MANIC DEPRESSIVE AS WELL AND HAVE SOUGHT HELP TOO.
SO THANKS TO CBS AND MARK HARMON FOR ALL YOUR COMMERCIALS ON EVERY SUBJECT YOU’VE CHOSEN TO MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE OF.
CBS ROCKS, AND ALL IT’S PROGRAMING!!

leslie November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

My boyfriend was finally diagnosed with bipolar n we are homeless with no vehicle. BC he can’t hold down a job! Help!!

Celena November 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

HELP!!! I agree with Heather’s statement about BP effecting the entire family. Our 22yr old son suffers severely from BP Disorder and depression. He’s attempted to take his own life 3 times already. He’s currently in residential treatment for the second time in his young life. Quality inpatient care comes with a high price tag. Paying for treatment along with the economy has left our family in financial shambles and not knowing where to turn next for help. My son is a wonderful person worth saving. I am a desperate mother who can not give up on her son. Is there any assistance out there to get people the quality care that they need and deserve?

Heather October 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm

And during those 10 yrs in which the patient goes undiagnosed….family, parents, children….suffer .

charles July 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

maybe im stupid.certainly not cumputer savy,but i dont understand how walking to the library and waiting in line to use a computer to get on this website helps me with my problems.feel worse now than i did when i got here.thanks for careing cbs.ill still enjoy watching your shows wether you care about me or not.

Helen February 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

When this ad comes on during CBS Sunday Morning all I ever see is Mark Harmon saying Bipolar Disorder. Then it breaks away to another unrelated ad. Why is this? I’ve never seen the full 30 second piece.

Ella October 29, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Kudos to CBS! Thank you Mark Harmon. I went 15 years undiagnosed, then finally 25 years ago, a smart doctor hit the target dead center. NO ONE but someone with a bi-polar disorder of some kind knows the agony of being misunderstood, ashamed, inadequate, being mistreated by your family & friends, lacking self confidence to continue and that great feeling of being on the ceiling during a manic episode. The lows and highs were hard to keep with, but stablility provided with medication and counseling provide the best solution to a potentially deadly disease – in my humble opinion…this is 2010, my agony started in 1970. Today, I am happier than in many years and am thankful to my greater power that I got help.

susan August 5, 2010 at 9:45 am

According to my Dr. these ads to more harm than good. Especially if you are alone, not well known,wellconnected or wealth.

Teresa June 11, 2010 at 9:55 pm

It is wonderful that CBS is choosing to use their influence to help others understand the reality of mental illness.  It makes you want to DVR all the shows on CBS.  Well… maybe not Rules of Engagement or Gary Unmarried.

pacificpsych June 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hm. Manic Depressive illness is one of the most easily recognisable things in psychiatry. You don’t need a campaign to spread awareness about it.

Faux bipolar, which is what he’s talking about, is marketed by Pharma so they can sell antipsychotics to the hordes of people who are unhappy/irritable from drug use/just life or who have BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER. I’m surprised that the Menninger Clinic site of all places supports the proliferation of Faux Bipolar with its ‘mood swings’, one of the most ridiculous, meaningless, catch phrases out there. This ad is but one more instance of disease mongering by Pharma.

Pat June 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm

CBS does have to devote a certain amount of air time to the public good- but that does not have to mean prime time and does not have to include a star like Mark Harmon. Not to mention that he is very easy on the eyes- right ladies?
So kudos to CBS and to Menninger for raising awareness of mental health issues in accessible formats- like this blog.
And using humor makes more of us want to visit this site.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: