HBO Enlists the Help of Its Characters and Real Psychologists to Address Mental Health Issues


According to stats, every year one in five U.S. adults experiences a mental health issue. More stats state that one of the biggest impediments to treatment worldwide is the stigma associated with it. Many people who suffer from mental health issues stay silent because of fear of stigmatization. They often feel like they are the only ones dealing with the issues and no other person can understand how they feel. On World Mental Health Day (held on the 10th of October), HBO decided to launch a campaign to address this issue.

HBO Enlists the Help of Its Characters and Real Psychologists to Address Mental Health Issue

The network launched a campaign called ‘It’s OK’. The campaign aimed to encourage more conversation about mental health and to help destigmatize mental health issues. To do this HBO enlisted the help of its characters and real psychologists.

About the ‘It’s OK’ Campaign

For World Mental Health Day, HBO launched a campaign called ‘It’s OK’. The campaign pulled out scenes from some of its most popular shows. Some of these shows include The Sopranos, Euphoria, Insecure Girls and Barry. They show us some of these characters who are battling mental health issues. They highlighted a diverse set of characters seen throughout its shows whose stories may help to normalize the conversation.

Apart from the video showing its characters, HBO also enlisted the help of a clinical psychologist Ali Mattu. Ali Mattu features in a frank series in which he analyzes scenes from HBO shows like “Girls.” He explains the real mental health challenges characters are going through. In the first episode,  he talks about, Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath. She struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and Mattu describes the symptoms and calls for more understanding.

The Network also running bumpers ahead of shows like these, warning viewers that they contain scenes of specific mental health issues or addiction. The bumpers also add a message with the “It’s OK” icon and direct viewers to the hotline for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. HBO’s ‘It’s OK’ campaign is created by Wieden & Kennedy New York.

HBO Speaks on the Campaign

Jason Mulderig, HBO’s vice president of brand and product marketing, spoke about the campaign. He talked about how the network 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. According to him, they are not saying ‘viewer discretion is advised. They are saying ‘viewer conversation is encouraged.


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