"Sharp Objects" To End Episodes With Mental Health, Substance Abuse PSA

By Paul Gaita 07/10/18

The HBO limited series follows a reporter who struggles with self-harm and alcoholism while investigating a murder case.

Amy Adams in Sharp Objects
Photo via YouTube

The HBO limited series Sharp Objects will feature a card at the conclusion of each episode that will provide information on help for those who may be experiencing issues of self-harm and/or substance abuse.

The critically praised series, created by Marti Noxon (Dietland) and based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), stars Amy Adams as a reporter who struggles with both conditions while investigating a murder case.

As Deadline's coverage noted, the addition echoes the use of a similar title card on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.

The card reads as follows:

"If you or someone you know struggles with self-harm or substance abuse, please seek help by contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 1-800-662-HELP (4357)."

In addition to the card, HBO has also set up a website with links to resources including SAMHSA and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The series' title alludes to Adams' reporter, Camille Preaker, whose troubled childhood has manifested itself in adulthood through alcoholism and self-harm.

The first episode opens shortly after her discharge from a psychiatric hospital, and over the course of the next seven episodes, Preaker will return to the hometown where her issues first took root, and which bloom anew as she becomes deeply involved in the murder of two girls there.

As Deadline noted, the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why, which focused on a teenager's suicide, drew critical fire from members of the mental health community for what was regarded as graphic depictions of rape and suicide.

The network added a disclaimer and PSA to the second season of the show that advised viewers about the subject matter and, as Vulture noted, even suggested that certain individuals should consider watching the program with a "trusted adult." 13 Reasons Why is slated to return for its third season in 2019.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, author Gillian Flynn, who also serves as an executive producer for Sharp Objects, discussed the very personal reasons for tackling the subject of self-harm in the book and series.

"I felt that misery of, like, 'Why can't anyone see how much pain I'm in?' I wished I could bear witness somehow," she said. I had these fantasies of being mangled—of showing how much pain I was in."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.