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Youth mental health has always been a top priority at Boys Town. In fact, our Boys Town National Hotline has been providing lifesaving resources for youth in mental health crisis since 1989. That is why the recent increase in teen depression rates, fueled by COVID isolation, has become particularly disturbing.

In response to these alarming rates, Boys Town partnered with August, Lange & Husak, an advertising agency based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and Pixeldust Studios in Bethesda, Maryland, to create a public service announcement (PSA) to address the rising levels of teen depression. We are honored to share that our spot, titled, “The New Normal," was recently awarded a Television Academy's EMMY award. This award is given annually in recognition of excellence within various areas of television and emerging media.

Our PSA TV spot combined live shooting with stylized animation. It portrays a teenage girl who struggles to connect with her former self, prior to pandemic interruptions. In front of her mirror, she tries to remember who she used to be before COVID, but nothing feels right. She ultimately decides to embrace her “new normal" going forward, instead of searching backwards.

At Boys Town, we specialize in youth mental health and that's one reason why this PSA was so successful. Using information gained from our hotline calls, we worked with our agency to craft a visual, :30 second story that captured the current feelings of depression being experienced by youth and provided a positive and effective way to cope.

Boys Town's expertise in dealing with youth mental health has enabled us to help those in need nationwide for more than 30 years. To date, our 24/7 hotline has received more than 10.5 million calls and more than 9,000 suicides have been prevented.  In addition, our website has had nearly 10 million visits.  The Boys Town National Hotline also handles all the 988 calls for the state of Nebraska. 988 is the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Watch the winning PSA here: