Discovery Life Channel is launching its first public awareness campaign, Making Life Better, to draw attention to physical and mental health issues.
The network said it will partner with other organizations throughout the year as it aims "to [bring] important issues to the forefront, including inclusion and equality, mental health awareness and health screenings."
Coinciding with the April 11 premiere of its original docu-series New Girls on the Block, the first cable series to profile a group of women friends in the transgender community, Discovery Life Channel is first partnering with GLAAD on that organization's #GotYourBack initiative.
The five-episode series relates the personal stories of a group of women, each of whom was assigned male at birth, as they navigate love and relationships. Robyn, for example, is now dating her life-long best friend, Andrew; the two had met as boys and planned to remain platonic best friends after Robyn's transition. But about a year later, Andrew explains, he hit on her.
Jaime is a triathlon competitor who's facing obstacles registering for an upcoming race; the sponsoring organization is concerned she has an unfair advantage competing against other women.
Working with Robyn, Jaime and the other New Girls on the Block cast members, Discovery Life has created a PSA to support GLAAD's #GotYourBack campaign, which is designed to "empower the LGBT community and their allies to speak out in support of acceptance," the network said. Each of the five women offer simple, direct ways viewers can "be an ally" to the LGBT community. The PSA will first air during the series premiere.
Other organizations the Making Life Better campaign will partner with include Bring Change 2 Mind (BC2M), which focuses on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues and with which the network will collaborate in May for its annual "Psych Week" programming event; Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), which airs a fundraising telecast on the network every other September; and Autism Speaks, which the network will support during the organization's international Light It Up Blue campaign.
The network said it will also work with Girls Inc. to help girls learn to set and achieve goals to lead healthy, educated and independent lives.
“Discovery Life Channel is very proud to partner with some of the nation’s most esteemed organizations, beginning with our partnership with GLAAD, to inform and inspire others about difficult emotional and physical health issues that people face each day,” Jane Latman, general manager of Discovery Life Channel, said. “It is our hope that by joining together ... to bring light to these issues and provide our viewers resources from our partner organizations, we can celebrate our differences and ultimately make life a little bit better for everyone.”
As Discovery Fit and Health, Discovery Life Channel (which rebranded in January) had worked with partners on public service messages, but Making Life Better is its first overarching initiative. It grew out of a challenge by Discovery Communications's corporate responsibility program, Discovery Impact. Having added volunteer and service initiatives at the corporate level, the programmer has challenged each of its networks to create their own signature initiatives.
"We're very active in scaling up via the network brands," chief communications officer David Leavy told Multichannel News in March, discussing Discovery Impact for the #CableInTheCommunity spotlight. "The Impact team has worked with every network over the last 18 months to explore, 'What is your Impact initiative?'"