Apple CEO Tim Cook hosted a mental health summit in the Steve Jobs Theater on Friday, introducing keynote speakers first lady Dr Jill Biden, Korean singer Rosé, and US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy. Dr Biden referenced the vision of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in her speech.
Cook’s introduction was interrupted by the failure of his teleprompter, leading him to briefly ad-lib, and seemingly cut short his speech …
The summit was hosted on behalf of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), an inter-government forum for 21 member countries in the region.
Cook opened the summit.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Apple Park.
To the first spouses who have joined us today, let me say what an honor it is to have you here. I think it’s incredibly hopeful when leaders from different countries and different continents come together to engage one another, to find areas of ground and common purpose, and to work together in pursuit of building a better world.
I especially appreciate that you are here today to talk about mental health – an issue which represents an immense global challenge and an even greater global imperative. It is an issue that touches countless lives, no matter who you are–
There was a pause at this point.
The teleprompter just went out … Let me give them time to regroup …
Biden suggested the audience “talk amongst yourselves” to lighten a clearly stressful moment, before Cook resumed.
Let me just go ahead and ad-lib. It is an issue that brings us all together, that we all want to work on so much.
At this point the teleprompter appeared to kick back in, though it wasn’t clear whether it did so at the right point, or jumped to the end, as the ending did seem a little abrupt.
I’m here to introduce an extraordinary representative of mental health, and an extraordinary representative of the United States of America, Dr Jill Biden.
The first lady referenced Steve’s vision in relation to mental health.
It’s hard to imagine now but this splendid space that we sitting in, and this company, one of the world’s largest, started from humble beginnings in Steve Job’s small family garage just 15 minutes from here.
When Apple began in 1976, computers weren’t personal they were intimidating and unfriendly so I don’t know how many of you remember that when we first saw them or used them as the purview of engineers and mathematicians. They were using them, not moms and dads and grandparents, so Steve’s vision and insight wasn’t the iPhone or, you know, how the idea of how to put a thousand songs into your head. He believed at our core, each of us is searching for connection, and that technology could facilitate that connection. Steve put the personal in personal computing.
She went on to say that, today, many are missing that connection, feeling isolation and anxiety. These issues were once hidden away, but now people are being courageous enough to speak up, and seek help.
Biden introduced Rosé, lead singer of the Korean pop group Blackpink, described as the biggest female group in the world. Rosé has spoken very openly about her own mental health challenges, and said that it needs as much attention as physical health.
I have discovered, however, that mental health is not the easiest of subjects, as for me it required much patience and practice – but most importantly, lots and lots of attention. Just as we train ourselves for better health and fitness, mental health can only be maintained with equally if not more attention as our physical well-being.
Surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy then chaired a round-table discussion, focusing in particular on “how to balance the benefits and risks of technology on our mental health.”
You can watch the 50-minute video of the mental health summit below (in glorious 480p).
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