HBO to Add Mental Health Disclaimers Ahead of Some Shows

The move comes as part of the network's "It's OK" campaign

Barry
Episodes of HBO's "Barry" will feature a mental health disclaimer. (Photo: HBO)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 10, 2019 3:56 pm

As Variety reports, HBO will begin including mental health awareness bumpers ahead of some of its programming to identify the specific mental illnesses that appear in an episode and provide information for viewers seeking help.

The move is part of HBO’s new “It’s OK” initiative, which aims to destigmatize mental illness. The network partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Health to create the disclaimers, which are based on the “The following program is rated…” warnings that frequently run before TV shows and movies. They will reportedly be included before episodes of Barry, The SopranosEuphoria, Girls and more.

“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,” Jason Mulderig, vice president of brand and product marketing at HBO, told Variety. “We are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised.’ We are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.'”

The network will also feature a series of videos called “Doctor Commentaries” by Dr. Ali Mattu, a clinical psychologist and mental health advocate, on its YouTube channel. Mattu will break down and discuss scenes from HBO shows that depict mental illness.

“It’s easy to overlook symptoms of mental illness and examples of mental health when we’re watching a show,” Mattu said 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.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Daily Brief

15 Things to Know Today, from RealClearLife

October 14, 2019