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NAMI benefits from ‘House’ support

Show devotes effort to mental health charity

For all the onscreen achievements in their 100-episode history, the cast and crew of “House” had one of their biggest celebrations over an event that took place offscreen in Washington, D.C.

In October, the U.S. government passed the Mental Health Parity Act, requiring health insurance companies to evaluate mental illness on the same basis as physical illness. The law was a long-term mission of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, which “House” has dedicated itself to supporting.

“I decided in the second season to get out in front of a charitable organization,” executive producer Katie Jacobs says, “so that we could all sort of own it, feel attached to it.”

The “House” team has not only regularly attended fund-raisers for NAMI but has also proactively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity, creating cast-heavy ads that have run in Seventeen and Rolling Stone as well as T-shirts that have sold online.

The National Institute of Mental Health reported in 2007 that “one in four adults — approximately 57.7 million Americans — experience a mental health disorder in a given year,” but Jacobs says many people feel shame about being connected to it.

“The fact that we loan our name to mental illness, I’m hoping takes some of the stigma off that illness,” she says.

“I just feel, to have a 100th episode of a show, to just take the accolades — it’s great, it’s fantastic, and we are thrilled — I view it more as an opportunity to take that attention and shine a light on something that doesn’t usually get spoken about.”

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