Pivoting to an integrated mental health approach through media

Robert Morgan created a global multimillion dollar consulting business with his brother and former co-worker when, not long after the successful sale of one of its divisions, he no longer felt fueled by his two decades of corporate entrepreneurship. After a discussion and cooperative self-examination among the three, they made the mutual decision to sell the entire business, MorganFranklin Consulting. 

Morgan wasn’t done creating, however. Perhaps unwittingly, his experience as a young college student became a driving force in creating his next adventure: Pivotal Moments Media

While attending Penn State as an electrical engineering student, Morgan’s education journey was interrupted by testicular cancer. After wrangling both physically and mentally with the disease months longer than his medical team expected, Morgan finally became cancer free – and remains so over three decades later. What motivated him back then, he says, was the unfinished business of completing his education. 

“Education was my purpose back then, so years later when creating Pivotal Moments Media, it was with education at the core, using it to help youth overcome serious health issues and in the process, also overcome poverty.” 

That wasn’t his only impetus, however. Morgan also harbored a personal love for storytelling, and a disdain for the increasing media negativity and destructive dialogue he felt was detrimental to both the country and to youth development. 

That negativity became magnified shortly after the PMM journey began. Morgan confronted what he calls a significant void in mental health knowledge, care, and the importance of building mental strength.

“I spent 52 years having two to three physicals per year after my cancer treatment before a doctor ever asked about my brain health,” said Morgan. “Now, having three sons who recently went through high school and college, I know far too many firsthand stories of the struggles young people have with mental health issues and a generational gap that doesn’t fully understand or even acknowledge those issues.” 

That’s how PMM iterated into its current form, born from a combination of a need for mental health, wellness, and education, combined with the power of uplifting positive stories to inspire people to focus on mental fitness earlier and more often. 

Filling a void in an era of social investment

Morgan gave partial credit to good timing years ago when he sold his first consulting division. Timing also comes into play now for PMM: an increased interest and emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) elements in investing, and a spotlight on mental health during the pandemic.

“Sadly, more than 100 million people do not have access, or have limited access, to mental health care or support,” he said. “This provides an opportunity for PMM to fill this void. We recently kicked off the capital raise process, and this issue is extremely important to socially impactful investors and venture capital groups. For this seed round we are speaking primarily with high-net-worth individuals and family offices looking to invest in creative opportunities and make a social impact, and we are being selective.”

Acknowledging that mental health is a major societal issue that neither our health care system nor government can resolve is a major investor selling point. There’s also a demand for corporate wellness programs to provide mental fitness resources. 

Creating, curating, sharing … integrating

Morgan points out an important distinction between PMM and other media companies.

“Media companies generally tell stories and leave it to the audience to decipher the lessons. PMM tells powerful stories through film, documentaries, TV shows, podcasts, blogs, music, books, and then we run campaigns such as Suicide Prevention, Fortitude for Youth, and others. We work with corporations and charities alike to develop call-to-action programs in communities.” 

The result, said Morgan, is that this media company is building different audience communities and then integrating them to create a global community of mental fitness champions. The efforts are leveraged through partnerships with artists, athletes, notable leaders, a medical advisory board, and others.

One such partnership is with EVERFI to create a novel Mental Wellness Basics Course that launched in 2019 and has taught over 1 million U.S. students. The current waiting lists numbers 1,800 schools across the country. 

Morgan references a film release expected this fall called Saving the Roar, a collaboration between PMM, Talaria Media (another of his companies) and Beverly Hills Productions. The film is about young people overcoming adversity not of their doing, facing the repercussions of other people’s actions, yet stepping up and fighting for something bigger than themselves.

“It demonstrates the power of team, family and friends to overcome.”

Something Robert Morgan surely knows well. 


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