Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Popular TV Show HOUSE Uses Its Star Power to Support Mental Health

The January 30th Daily Variety issue celebrated the 100th episode of the Fox drama series HOUSE. (Full disclosure – I’m a fan of the show.)

As I flipped through the several pages of the special section, I stopped at the full-page ad of the actors who play Dr. House and Dr. Foreman. Both actors were wearing a black t-shirt with the words “Normal’s Overrated” on the shirts. At the bottom of the full-page ad were these words:
Buy a T-shirt. Change a life. Purchase a T-shirt from housecharitytees.com and you will help the National Alliance on Mental Illness end mental illness and improve the lives of all who are affected.
What was this ad about? I looked for an article in the special section that would explain the ad. The article by Jon Weisman, entitled “Charity reaps benefit of skein’s support,” noted:
In October, the U.S. government passed the Mental Health Parity Act, requiring health insurance companies to evaluate mental illness on the same basis as physical illness. The law was a long-term mission of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, which “House” has dedicated itself to supporting.
I don’t know where I’ve been in these past 100 episodes, but it appears that in the second season executive producer Katie Jacobs decided “to get out in front of a charitable organization so that we could all sort of own it, feel attached to it.”

And apparently the show has been raising “hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity, creating cast-heavy ads that have run in Seventeen and Rolling Stone as well as T-shirts that have sold online.”

If you want to be part of this very worthwhile cause, buy your Normal’s Overrated T-shirt now as proceeds go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I just did.

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