Mental Illness Alerts on HBO and the “It’s OK” Campaign

mental illness

Talking about mental health is paramount; we need to have discussions about mental illness to combat stigma and encourage people to seek treatment. Historically, Americans have shied away from conversing about mental health disorders, sweeping them under the rug in hopes they will disappear. However, with one in five American adults facing the realities of mental and behavioral health problems, we can no longer ignore this public health crisis.

Right now, millions of Americans are suffering in silence from mental illnesses; such individuals feel isolated and alone in their struggles. Many have trouble relating to their peers at school and at work. When individuals feel apart from society, they are more likely to engage in self-defeating and self-harming behaviors.

Connection is the key to keeping mental illness at bay; those who feel disconnected will often use drugs and alcohol to escape their feelings. The practice can lead to dependence and addiction, and self-medication puts people at risk of overdose. Conversely, when individuals feel like they have support and compassion, they can find the courage to take action and seek treatment.

Several recent national observances have highlighted the need for having conversations about mental and behavioral health disorders. As we pointed out last week, October is National Depression Education & Awareness Month. Campaigns to raise awareness about mental health get more people talking about the benefits of compassion and how it gives people the strength to seek help.

Advocating for mental health in the 21st Century goes beyond annual awareness campaigns. A number of companies are doing their part to open up discussions about mental illness. Television and streaming networks are among those who hope to encourage people to seek treatment and recovery.

HBO Tackles Mental Illness Stigma

The premium network HBO has a history of creating programs that deal with sensitive subjects. Several HBO documentary series have helped raise awareness about addiction and treatment in America.

HBO Shows like In Treatment and, more recently, Euphoria are two examples of series that deal with mental illness and addiction. The hit show Girls touched on mental health disorders as well; the main character Hannah struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Tony Soprano of The Sopranos battled anxiety and panic attacks. The network understands the importance of featuring characters in their shows who face the same problems as millions of Americans.

HBO has a new initiative to get more people talking about mental illness and encourage struggling men and women to reach out for support, The New York Times reports. The “It’s OK” campaign will involve beginning certain shows – that deal with mental health – with an alert that points out the challenges a character is facing.

The campaign will not only apply to new shows; the alerts will be applied retroactively to older shows like The Sopranos, according to the article. The alerts will conclude with imploring viewers who require assistance to reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

We are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised,’” Jason Mulderig, HBO’s Vice President of Brand and Product Marketing, said in a statement. “We are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.’”

In conjunction with “It’s OK,” the network is releasing a series of videos called “Doctor Commentaries.” The short videos feature Dr. Ali Mattu, a clinical psychologist, unpacking specific show scenes that deal with mental health disorders. The first episode is available; Dr. Mattu examines OCD in the show Girls. Please take a moment to watch below (please be advised, there is some adult content):


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

California Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Center

It’s a promising sign that HBO is committed to the awareness and destigmatization of mental health issues. Other streaming services like Netflix added disclaimers to their programs that deal with mental illness and suicide. Providing resources before and after shows that focus on mental illness can encourage men and women to seek assistance.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male who is struggling with behavioral or mental health disorders. Our gender-specific treatment center can help you begin the healing process and teach you how to lead a healthy and fulfilling life in recovery. If you meet the criteria for mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder, we offer a dual diagnosis program that treats both conditions simultaneously.

Contact Us

...