Max Sherman Gets “Awkward” for a Good Cause

In a groundbreaking effort to empower teens and young adults to reach out to friends with mental health issues who may be at risk for suicide, the Ad Council launched Seize the Awkward, a national public service campaign, directed by Max Sherman and produced by Anonymous Content through The Jed Foundation, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Droga5.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults and for every youth suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 others attempt suicide. Friends of young adults are often the first to recognize signs of an emerging mental health problem or crisis and an estimated 76 percent of young adults turn to a peer in a time of crisis for support.

Seize the Awkward encourages teens and young adults, particularly those ages 16-24, to create a safe space for their friends to open up about mental health challenges. The campaign personifies an awkward silence that can happen between friends before a conversation about mental health. This character, Awkward Silence, shows viewers the opportunity that exists in recognizing something is wrong and breaking through an awkward silence between friends – and encourages them to use this moment to check in and ask about their mental health.

Watch the film below.