Mental health issues have taken a front-row seat over the past year as families deal with the fallout from COVID-19, community restrictions and other unprecedented changes in their lives stemming from the pandemic.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist Larry Mitnaul, MD, has taken his popular YouTube videos that encourage families and kids struggling with mental well-being and has channeled them into a new monthly television series called “Cause for Hope,” airing for the first time this month on PBS Kansas.
“That has been an interest of mine, how to communicate about mental health and destigmatize it; to communicate about it in an approachable way,” Mitnaul said.
The 30-minute show with co-host and local journalist Pilar Pedraza was born from those ideas and aims to address family wellness in the Kohl’s Cares-funded teen suicide prevention initiative with Ascension Via Christi and PBS Kansas.
“The goal is to communicate health and resilience,” Mitnaul said. “COVID really brought about the perfect storm of people being at home, people feeling isolated and looking for ways to both connect and nourish those connections they had prior to social distancing and masking.”
Topics include depression, anxiety and bullying, and initially will span nine monthly episodes. Episodes will air at 8 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month, starting March 25.
Mitnaul also appears in one of six “Mental Wellness Moment” PSAs appearing on KWCH that feature Wichita police Chief Gordon Ramsay, Wichita State University men’s basketball coach Isaac Brown, and others. A $100,000 Kohl’s Cares grant also is funding a Suspenders4Hope program with Ascension Via Christi and WSU focused on teen suicide prevention.