Courtesy : IndieWire
It is only fitting that on the eve of World Mental Health Day, we talk about how a channel giant is planning to focus on the issue in a way that it's highlighted before actually watching the presentation. Any feature presentation of otherwise, as we know, provides disclaimers before it begins on how the characters in he same are purely coincidental and bear no resemblance to anything in real life. However, given the fact that the case of mental health is more prevalent and important in today's times, more than ever, HBO has decided to provide a disclaimer for the same.
According to a report in Variety, the channel will be providing mental health awareness 'bumpers' ahead of select shows in order to identify specific mental illnesses that appear in the episode and provide a call to action for anyone seeking help. The movement is said to be a part of an initiative at the network called "It's OK" whose ultimate aim is to destigmatize mental illness and encourage having a conversation about it.
Earlier this year, a report by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that less than 2% of all film characters and roughly 7% of TV characters experience mental health conditions on screen, a failure to reflect the fact that close to 20% of the U.S. population reports some form of mental health condition or illness each year.
The premium cabler partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) to create the warnings which are modeled on “The following program is rated…” slates that appear before movies and other shows.
The shows that it will be appearing in are Barry, Euphoria, The Sopranos and Girls among a few others. “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 Jason Mulderig, vice president of brand & product marketing at HBO. “We are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised.’ We are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.’”
“It’s easy to overlook symptoms of mental illness and examples of mental health when we’re watching a show,” said Dr. Mattu 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.”