With 'It's OK,' HBO tackles the conversation around mental health

17 Oct 2019 - By WarnerMedia Staff

HBO is using scenes from its most popular and iconic shows to raise awareness around mental health issues with the network's "It’s OK" initiative, which aims to destigmatize mental illness and encourage conversation around mental health issues.

The initiative began Oct. 10, coinciding with World Mental Health Day. HBO has created Mental Health Awareness disclaimers called "bumpers" and other short-form content, featuring characters from classic shows such as "The Sopranos" and "Girls" to more current hits like "Succession" and 'Euphoria." The network partnered with The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the local affiliate NAMI NYC on the creation of these bumpers. The bumpers will specifically occur before episodes that feature scenes of mental illness, as well as provide the website (NAMI.org) and phone number for a mental health hotline (1.833.HBO.NAMI) for viewers to call for help with related issues.

WarnerMedia's own Phoebe Richards, a 2019 recipient of the Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Awards, volunteers her time with NAMI – teaching educational programs on mental illness and facilitating monthly family support groups. She has provided guidance to more than 200 individuals, helping them more effectively deal with and advocate for their loved ones who are living with mental health conditions.

In addition to the bumpers and the general awareness spot featured above, the "It's OK" initiative has also introduced a complementary video series called "Doctor Commentaries." The short-form series features clinical psychologist and mental health expert, Dr. Ali Mattu, who shares his insights on scenes from HBO shows, breaking them down from a mental health perspective. Each commentary will be available on YouTube and HBO.com.

Read more about the "It's OK" initiative here.