Movie goers lining up to see “Joker” get more than a fresh spin on the superhero genre.
They watch mental illness depicted in ways that move far beyond comic book panels. Joaquin Phoenix’s bravura turn captures a man in desperate need of psychiatric help.
It may be gritty and raw, but it’s still packaged in ways that appeal to our Comic Con cravings.
Now, a channel known for its sense of humor is taking a longer, more serious look at mental illness. Comedy Central is pairing with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for its “Be the Difference” PSA campaign (#BeTheDifference).
Comedians Jeff Ross, Matteo Lane and Yamaneika Saunders appear in the new clip, part of the channel’s effort to “drive cultural change on mental health.”
Comedy Central’s initiative includes “linear series, social content and live events” aimed at “making emotional health as important as physical health.”
“Mental illness affects everyone, including the funniest people you know. None of us are immune from experiencing a mental health crisis or from helping someone we care about in a crisis,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Comedy Central Vice President of Social Impact in a statement.
It’s a subject close to the hearts of more than a few comedians, witness the upcoming documentary “Laughing Matters.”
HBO is taking its own steps toward addressing mental health issues tied to its programming. The pay channel is adding “mental health” warnings before select programs to “identify specific mental illnesses that appear in the episode and provide a call to action for anyone seeking help,” according to Variety.
Among the HBO shows chosen? “Euphoria,” “Girls,” “Barry” and “The Sopranos.”
“Euphoria,” starring Zendaya, caught plenty of heat in recent months for its challenging subject matter involving young adults.