Love & Mercy Join the Campaign to Change Direction


Brian Wilson Joins the Campaign to Change Direction


Love & Mercy Join the Campaign to Change Direction


Love & Mercy Join the Campaign to Change Direction

The Campaign to Change Direction, a national initiative to change the culture of mental health in America, announced a new partnership with legendary musician and co-founder of the Beach Boys Brian Wilson.

Launched in March of 2015, the Campaign to Change Direction is a national initiative to broaden our understanding of mental health by encouraging all Americans to take a pledge to learn the Five Signs of emotional suffering and to care for their mental well-being just as they do their physical wellbeing.

“My wife, Melinda, and I are very excited to be a part of this important campaign, not only to bring awareness to the mental health issues faced by millions of Americans, but also to encourage everyone to learn the Five Signs of emotional suffering,” said Brian Wilson. “It’s time for us to bring the conversation of mental health in America out of the shadows, and the Campaign to Change Direction is leading the way.”

As part of this partnership, Mr. Wilson performed a concert with original Beach Boy, Al Jardin, and actors Paul Dano and John Cusack. Proceeds from the event benefited Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military and veteran community, and the lead organization behind the Change Direction campaign.

Change Direction is proud to work not only with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson but also with the producers and cast members of Love & Mercy, a biographical film dramatizing Mr. Wilson’s life and love story with his wife. Together they hope to inspire even more Americans to take the pledge to learn the Five Signs of emotional suffering.

“Give an Hour is thrilled to welcome Brian and Melinda as new partners and showcase Love & Mercy as we work to change the direction of mental health in our nation,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour. “By creating a shared mission to educate Americans about the signs of emotional suffering and using different tools and mediums to reach our audience, we can encourage awareness, compassion, and action to change the national conversation about mental health.”

Joining Mr. Wilson at the partnership announcement was his wife, Melinda Wilson; actor Paul Dano, who portrays a young Brian Wilson in the film; and the film’s acclaimed director/producer Bill Pohlad–all of whom participated in a panel discussion on how Hollywood can help change America’s attitude toward mental health. The panel was moderated by former West Wing star Melissa Fitzgerald, now Senior Director of Justice for Vets. View a recap of the launch.

Additionally, Elizabeth Banks supported the Campaign by participating in a Love & Mercy showing at George Washington University.

About Brian Wilson

One of the world’s legendary musical figures, Brian Wilson was the primary composer for the Beach Boys and was responsible for the release of a slew of hit singles during the early 1960s, creating music that would come to epitomize a generation. The Beach Boys released three albums in 1963 alone: Surfin’ U.S.A., Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coupe, all of which cracked the Top 10. In 1966 they went on to release the seminal album Pet Sounds, one of the most treasured albums of all time. After years of seclusion and battling mental illness, Mr. Wilson revitalized his career with the release of several hugely successful solo albums including Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, his long-awaited masterpiece, and, most recently, his album No Pier Pressure. He is currently the subject of a critically acclaimed biopic, Love & Mercy, which is based on his contributions to the music industry as a musical genius as well as the mental health struggles he has overcome. One of the most influential musicians and songwriters in Rock and Roll history, Brian Wilson has earned numerous awards and honors including membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, two Grammy’s, and the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime contribution to the performing arts.

About Bill Pohlad

Academy Award®–nominated filmmaker Bill Pohlad has been producing quality films for over two decades. As founder and CEO of River Road Entertainment, he has honed his ability to seek out compelling material and bring it to light and established his reputation as a filmmaker unafraid to take creative risks. Mr. Pohlad makes his return to directing with the feature film Love & Mercy, which centers on Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter, and leader of the Beach Boys. The film paints an unconventional portrait of the artist by interweaving seminal moments in his life, from his artistic genius to his profound struggles, and the love that keeps him alive. Love & Mercy, which Mr. Pohlad also produced under the River Road banner, stars John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti. It opened to rave reviews and is considered among the top films of 2015 so far. Having started out as a writer/director in the late 1980s, Mr. Pohlad has spent most of the last fifteen years producing such acclaimed titles as the Academy Award®–winning Best Picture Twelve Years a Slave, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, and Sean Penn’s Into the Wild.

About Paul Dano

Paul Dano first caught major national attention in 2006, when he played Dwayne in Academy Award nominee, “Little Miss Sunshine,” for which he won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Actor. He later signed on the Paul Thomas Anderson historical drama, “There Will Be Blood,” for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Dano also lent his voice to the big-screen computer-animated adaptation of the classic children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” voicing the main character of Alexander. Paul also appeared in the Oscar nominated film “12 Years a Slave” before starring in “Love & Mercy” as a young Brian Wilson.

About “Love & Mercy”

The critically acclaimed film Love & Mercy defies conventional storytelling with the dual story line of Brian Wilson, the singer, songwriter, and leader of the Beach Boys. Set against two distinct eras in Brian’s lengthy musical career, the film intimately examines his personal voyage from the period during which he shapes the early sounds of the Beach Boys to the time he meets his wife, Melinda.  Golden Globe® nominee John Cusack (Best Actor, High Fidelity, 2001), in “one of the best performances of his career” (Hollywood Reporter), stars alongside Paul Dano  (Little Miss Sunshine, Looper) as the troubled musical genius Brian in two pivotal stages of his life—the 1960s, at the peak of the Beach Boys’ fame, and the 1980s, as Brian reclaims his life after a mental breakdown. They are joined by Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games franchise) as Melinda Wilson and two-time Golden Globe® winner Paul Giamatti (Best Actor, Barney’s Version, 2011; Best Actor, John Adams, 2009).

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A big thanks to Brian Wilson for supporting our joint efforts to #changementalhealth and mentioning the Campaign to Change Direction in his new book I am Brian Wilson.  We couldn’t agree more that “…mental illness should be handled in a humane and straightforward way…”.