Call for Help

August 2, 2022 Announcements, General, Press

Lemonada Media To Launch “Call For Help,” A New Podcast Series Examining The Promise And Perils Of The New 988 Hotline

Premiering August 16th, Host Stephanie Wittels Wachs is Joined by Zak Williams, Son of the Late Robin Williams, to Unpack the Mission Behind the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Listen to the Trailer HERE

LOS ANGELESAug. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Lemonada Media, the podcast network that makes life suck less, is launching its newest original podcast, “Call For Help,” on August 16, 2022. This four-part series is hosted by Lemonada co-founder and host of “Last Day,” Stephanie Wittels Wachs, and features special correspondent Zak Williams — mental health advocate and son of the late Robin Williams — on each episode. Throughout the new seriesWittels Wachs interviews experts about the promise and the perils of the newly launched 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) and goes deeper into the challenges with the mental health system in America overall.

Virtually every American knows to dial 911 in case of emergency. As of July 16, 2022, there’s another option: 988, a new hotline designed to handle mental health crises. The idea is simple – a three-digit hotline, easy to remember, that anyone in crisis can call, with trained mental health professionals able to respond instead of police. How that looks in practice may be very different, and who responds to those calls – and what resources they have to respond to those calls – may vary widely by state.

The rollout of 988 is one of the most significant policy changes for mental health in years in America, and Call For Help aims to provide the deep context needed to understand where it came from, how it works, why we need it – and what might happen when you actually dial those numbers. Who shows up? How do they find you? And what exactly is the role of law enforcement, EMTs and police, the traditional first responders? Driven by candid personal stories around the criminalization of mental health in America, Wittels Wachs and Williams create a sound-rich and well-researched immersive experience for listeners and policymakers alike, including conversations with notable mental health advocates like Rep. Seth Moulton and actress Glenn Close, as well as people who have experienced arrest or loss at the hands of police responding to mental health emergencies. Williams also openly discusses his grief and struggle after losing his beloved father to suicide, discusses how that experience galvanized him to become an activist for mental health, and provides calls to action on each episode for listeners who want to get involved and learn more about dispelling stigma and improving mental healthcare in America.

“Through my healing journey, I discovered that learning about the systems and interventions relating to mental health support became part of a deeper mission around finding ways to better be of service to causes relating to mental health,” said Zak Williams. “Picking up everything I could about the why and the what of 988 along with Stephanie and the team has helped me better advocate for ways people can find the hope and the care they need.”

The podcast is presented in partnership with Sozosei Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Otsuka dedicated to ending the criminalization of mental illness, alongside partners at The Jed Foundation, NAMI and The Just Trust.

“As we’re making this series, the stories we’re hearing from mental health advocates, experts and people with lived experience are both harrowing and hopeful. 988 isn’t going to solve all of our problems overnight, but it’s certainly a giant step in the right direction. I’m honored to be able to dig into such an important topic with such a stellar team, including our series’ service correspondent Zak Williams, who has such incredible passion for helping us all do better at addressing mental health,” said Wittels Wachs.

The first episode of Call For Help will be available on all major podcast platforms on Tuesday, August 16th, and the trailer is available now. Subscribe to listen HERE.


Founded in 2019 by Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Lemonada is an award-winning, independent, audio-first podcast network, with a mission to make life suck less. The company is also the creator of the audio reality™ podcast genre, and launched BEING Studios, where reality TV meets podcasting. Lemonada has created hit series including the Gracie award-winning podcast Last Day, In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt, V Interesting with V Spehar, No One Is Coming to Save Us, Our America with Julián Castro, Add to Cart with Kulap Vilaysack & SuChin PakBelieve Her and The Untold Story with Jay EllisLemonada’s roster of guests has included an array of luminaries from across the entertainment, media, politics and science worlds.

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Zak Williams is an entrepreneur, investor, and a mental health advocate. After his father, the late actor Robin Williams, took his own life in August 2014, Zak began focusing on mental wellness and removing the stigma and ending the discrimination associated with mental health concerns. This journey also led him to found PYM, a brand of chewable supplements that provide natural support for the body and brain’s optimal neurotransmitter health. He also serves on the board of Bring Change 2 Mind, is a U.S. trustee for United for Global Mental Health, and is an advisor to nonprofits including Inseparable and Project Healthy Minds. Zak holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from New York University. He and his family live in Los Angeles.


Stephanie Wittels Wachs is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lemonada Media, a podcast network that makes life suck less. She co-created and hosts Last Day, Lemonada’s award-winning flagship show confronting massive epidemics with humor, compassion, and a quest for progress. Its first season focused on the opioid crisis, which took the life of her brother, writer-producer-comedian Harris Wittels (Parks & Recreation, Master of None). Thanks in part to her wit and forthrightness, Wittels Wachs has appeared as a guest on a plethora of podcasts (from Comedy Bang Bang to Pod Save the People) public radio programs (NPR’s Morning Edition), and TV shows (Late Night with Seth Meyers). She’s the author of the best-selling book Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss, which Kirkus anointed “a powerful debut” upon its release. A well-known voice actor appearing in countless anime series and movies, she founded Lemonada Media with Jessica Cordova Kramer, who also lost her brother to an overdose, because, Wittels Wachs says, “Community is a life jacket.”


The Sozosei Foundation was established in 2019 as a philanthropic arm of Otsuka. The Foundation’s primary focus is to eliminate the use of jail and prisons for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. In addition to our primary focus on the decriminalization of mental illness, the Sozosei Foundation also supports efforts to build resilient, healthy, and vibrant communities in Stockton, CaliforniaCity of Baltimore, Maryland; and CamdenNewarkPatterson, and Trenton, New Jersey, and engages in disaster relief and recovery in places where Otsuka has a presence globally.

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