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Friday / September 29.

“It’s OK to Not Feel OK” During COVID-19: HBO and NAMI Get Out Ahead of Mental Health Crisis

It's OK to Not Feel OK

Stephanie Hepburn is a writer in New Orleans. She is the editor in chief of #CrisisTalk. You can reach her at​

Earlier this month, HBO partnered with NAMI, releasing a celebrity-flush PSA sharing it’s okay “to talk about how COVID-19 is making you feel.” Each celebrity says their “it’s okay” statement, with Lena Dunham opening up the PSA by saying, “It’s okay to think you’re in a toxic relationship with the world right now.” 

What’s different about this PSA by Wieden+Kennedy, an independent advertising agency, compared with earlier HBO and NAMI collaborations is that celebrities from WarnerMedia shows and documentaries open up about their feelings on life during the COVID-19 pandemic: the fear, anxiety, challenges in maintaining a regular routine, wanting to be someone else, and as Kendrick Sampson says, difficulty finding “the words to express how you feel.” The one that I most connected with was John Turturro’s statement: “It’s okay if you’re panicking over an inability to control your life right now.” They share the array of emotions they’re feeling during this experience, helping to normalize not only talking about mental health but also that however you feel, it’s okay. 

The PSA ends by sharing NAMI’s toll-free number and URL:

If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit