By the looks of things, addiction is becoming a hot topic within the Hollywood backlots. Several new shows across networks like HBO and Netflix are touching upon the issue, with dramatic hard-hitting stories. But to their credit, they are also issuing Public Service Announcements from series stars that urge viewers in need to seek help.
On the HBO front, the new mini-series Sharp Objects is addressing alcoholism and self-harm. Praised by critics, the mystery drama stars Amy Adams as an investigative reporter with a severe drinking problem and a penchant for cutting herself. It is definitely not for the faint of heart (the plot involves murder and violence), but it is boldly going into territories that many movies and shows aren’t willing to address.
After each of the series’ 12 episodes, a title card has been appearing. In it, viewers are shown a PSA along with a toll-free phone number for a substance abuse and mental health services hotline. There is also a web page on HBO’s Sharp Objects site that links to Shatterproof, an organization dedicated to servicing families impacted by addiction.
Netflix is taking a similar approach with their controversial series, 13 Reasons Why. This is another dark show that touches upon suicide, depression and addiction. Truth be told, 13 Reasons is not without its critics. Many have taken aim at the series for its graphic, “sensationalized” depiction of teens killing themselves. Producers have addressed the controversy and are airing their own PSA’s before each episode.
In these public service announcements, the show’s stars speak into the camera about the tough topics covered in each episode. They also include a resource card, driving people to a site where they can learn more about recovery and mental health support.
“13 Reasons Why is a fictional series that tackles tough, real world issues, taking a look at sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide and more, the actors explain in the PSA. “By shedding a light on these difficult topics we hope our show can help viewers start a conversation. But if you struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.”
You can take a glimpse of the 13 Reasons clip below…