On World Mental Health Day on Thursday, HBO launched the “It’s OK” initiative, designed to destigmatize the conversation around mental health.
As part of that effort, the premium network created the below bumper, which alerts viewers to programming that portrays various mental-health issues. It’s also creating short-form content around mental health that will air on HBO platforms.
HBO partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its local affiliate NAMI NYC to create the bumpers. They will debut in select episodes of HBO’s Barry, Euphoria, Girls, The Sopranos, Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh, Boy Interrupted, Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press One, Diagnosis Bipolar: Five Families Search for Answers, I Love You Now Die, In Treatment, Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck, Risky Drinking and The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling Parts 1 & 2.
Each bumper will contain a call to action for those seeking help to either call 1-833-HBO-NAMI or visit NAMI.org.
“HBO has always been at the forefront of telling stories featuring complex characters, some of whom deal with mental illness, from The Sopranos to Euphoria, encouraging more conversation around the different facets of mental health,” said HBO Vice President of Brand & Product Marketing Jason Mulderig in a statement. “We are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised.’ We are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.’”
HBO also is creating “Doctor Commentaries,” featuring mental-health expert and clinical psychologist Dr. Ali Mattu discussing relevant scenes from HBO shows.
“It’s easy to overlook symptoms of mental illness and examples of mental health when we’re watching a show,” said Mattu, also in a statement. “There’s so much we can learn within certain scenes of these selected shows and we hope the commentaries give viewers a new perspective on mental health.”
As part of HBO’s partnership with NAMI, the network also will make stand-up special, Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh, available on HBO.com and HBO’s YouTube channel for a limited time. The comedy special offers reflections on Gulman’s struggles with depression through stand-up and short documentary interludes.