positive portrayal of mental illness in movies

The Soloist. setTimeout(function() { The following is a list of movies that have a positive depiction of mental illness. Still, as the years have gone by we’ve learned more about psychology and the representation of mental health on films has changed too. Sure, there are some patchy areas and the issue is still occasionally treated as a trope. Ellen DeGeneres’ Dory might suffer from amnesia, but she’s still a warm-hearted, friendly, optimistic character. Still, his illness does not define him. No longer is mental health confined to the villains and the monsters. 19 Melancholia (2011) The 2011 science fiction psychological drama film Melancholia is not the only film that Lars von Trier directed which features themes of mental illness. All mental illnesses are most definitely the same and are also severe. success:function(data){ However, strides have been made and will continue to be made. Hollywood has, in its slow, carefully considered manner, started to acknowledge the reality of mental health on film. return regex.test(email); Robot And Frank never shies away from this fact. By the end, it’s clear that while Joy will never completely move on from her experiences, she can learn to live her own life. After all, dance lessons and seeing the silver linings aren’t exactly solid cures for bipolar disorder. This is hands down the scariest, most disturbing film we’ve ever seen. })(window.jQuery); According to a 2015 worldwide survey, 216 million people were living with depression. The violent representation of the mentally ill is sadly where many get their information on issues such as Psychosis, as there is such little representation in the media elsewhere. What a powerful thing, then, that Inside Out was released to remind young audiences that sadness is not only normal, but necessary for their well-being. Special hospitals can cause more harm than good for a mentally ill person. It over-eggs the pudding a little bit by giving Natalie Portman’s ballerina Nina a whole bunch of disorders that in real life don’t tend to co-exist, but Black Swan powerfully demonstrates the horror of untreated psychosis. We’re often told that one of the major causes of depression, particularly in men, comes from ‘bottling up’ emotions. The treatment of mental health on film is certainly improving. stereotypes, and positive portrayals of mental illness in 14 feature-length American films, which contain scenes of psychiatric hospitalization. This could have been a truly terrible film – studio bosses had decided that what a film about a yuppie and his newly discovered mentally ill brother really needed was some set-piece gunfights. A work in progress. The treatment of mental health on film is certainly improving. //alert(email); var msg = $( '.wysija-msg' ); Also, note that this is by no means a comprehensive list, and merely contains movies that I have seen or may want to see. If one was to weigh up every single film featuring mental illness, the vast majority would be horror films. }); And even, sometimes, a few laughs. This romantic comedy featured Mary Stuart Masterson as Joon, a schizophrenic young woman who meets the quirky Sam, played by Johnny Depp. }, 3000); However, strides have been made and will continue to be made. Sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in television programmes such as Homeland and Coronation Street are helping to promote much better understanding of … } He suffers from severe insomnia, which affects his weight and his mental health, and when he accidentally injures a colleague, his illness becomes much more severe. The result is heartbreaking, often very funny and rightly attracted stacks of five-star reviews. Negative portrayals can contribute to the stigma surrounding mental illness, making those who need it less likely to seek help, according to a 2008 study in Journal of Health Communications. Epub 2014 Oct 15. However, feel free to make suggestions. Secret fees being added to online shopping because of Brexit red tape, Articles of impeachment filed against Joe Biden. 11 GARDEN STATE Garden State teaches us that if you’re diagnosed with a mental illness but meet the right person, you won’t have to depend so much on real medication and therapy. However, mental illness in entertainment media can also be depicted in a more positive manner by accounting for sensitivities and excluding exaggerations of mental illness. Aside from disassociative personality disorders, post-traumatic stress is one of the most commonly depicted mental illnesses. It’s easy to forget while watching Finding Nemo and Finding Dory that we’re watching films with mental health at their heart. We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which TV shows and movies portrayed mental health accurately in 2017, and there were quite a lot! Over time, the media has slowly become conscious of these harmful portrayals, experts say. Recently, I have been seeing movies that are coming out in theaters that are not helping break the stigma around mental illness. } All the above are just a few stereotypical portrayals of people with mental illnesses in the media. There’s a lot to be positive about on the subject of portrayals of mental health in Hollywood. The main character might suffer from PTSD but that’s only because he’s a freaking superhero! The highlight of Lars Von Trier’s depression trilogy (the others are Antichrist and Nymphomaniac) isn’t an easy watch, but Kirsten Dunst portrays the experience of severe depression very well. Movies and Mental Illness – Hogrefe Publishing; David J. Robinson, Reel Psychiatry: Movie Portrayals of Psychiatric Conditions, Rapid Psychler Press, 2003, ISBN 1-894328-07-8. While authentic portrayals of mental illness and psychotherapy are slim pickings, they do occur, even if we just get bits and pieces. For decades, individuals dealing with mental illness have been depicted as crazy, harmful and dangerous. type:"POST", Sure, her mental illness might account for some of her actions, but what about the rest of the cast? In fact, the common mischaracterisation of schizophrenia as a disassociative personality disorder is often compounded by horror films to this day. Regina George is a real piece of work, but maybe that’s because she’s actually suffering from Histrionic personality disorder? Still, the film never flinches from its depiction of what it’s like to be a mental health sufferer. Authors Cynthia A Hoffner 1 , Elizabeth L Cohen. The film touches on everything from depression to social anxiety, never judging or criticizing, just accepting and offering a thoughtful response that even children can understand. v themes. You answered with a list of films that explore a range of issues people living with mental ill health may experience. What I do notice is how regular people would argue whether Nina’s condition is schizophrenia or psychosis. Stay tuned for articles throughout November and click here to donate to help the many charities involved. Masterson in particular is amazing. It’s honest, it’s brutal, but ultimately it’s incredibly heartwarming. Read on for the best movies about mental illness this World Mental Health Day. }); $(document).ready(function(){ )+([a-zA-Z0-9]{2,4})+$/; Negative: Overall, no complaints about the movie’s portrayal of mental illness. But for every Me, Myself and Irene that mocks mental illness, there are films that approach the issue with empathy. Portrayals of mental illness are prevalent in the media, and studies show that they negatively influence public perception while sustaining the stigma (Pirkis, Blood, Francis, & McCallum, 2006). Just look at our list of films that got it very, very wrong. Ultimately, Mean Girls concludes that Regina was mean, but ultimately a tragic character. Hoffman plays a man with savant syndrome, which is often associated with autism and which enables extraordinary feats of memory, while Cruise isn’t scared to be thoroughly unlikeable from the outset. It’s incredibly common and can be both terrifying and heartbreaking for sufferers. For kids with pervasive developmental disorders such as ADHD this was the ultimate empowering film. Dubbed as a ‘psychological disaster movie’, it’s a very odd film indeed, but the people who like it love it. Frank, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, is very much a sympathetic character. My descriptions will indicate which mental illness or neurological condition is exhibited by which character (if known). 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Despite this, the movie has saving graces and can also be considered one of the better representations of mental illness in movies. There’s a lot to be positive about on the subject of portrayals of mental health in Hollywood. The way these fictional characters experience and cope with mental illness can directly affect the way real-life people understand and react to the conditions. Sure, Silver Linings Playbook isn’t always realistic. The success of Netflix’s shows like Atypical and 13 Reasons Why prove that audiences are clamouring for interesting, modern depictions of mental health issues. Okay, sure, the film never actually states those words. return false; Sure, there are some patchy areas and the issue is still occasionally treated as a trope. It’s a beautiful depiction of mental illness that encourages audiences to think. url: "/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php", Christian Bale is Trevor, the titular machinist. //alert(data); Not all portrayals of mental illness in movies are completely inaccurate. On the other hand though, the central theme of the character is that mental illness doesn’t need to get in the way of making friends and being happy – a lovely message for a child-heavy audience. Here a few of the best, most-helpful and empowering depictions of mental health in films in the last ten years. }); It’s an incredible performance for an actor of any age, and it’s the centre of a film that isn’t scared to show the reality of living with autistic children. X + Y. The film goes to show that dementia need not rewrite a person’s entire personality, nor must it be the end of the world. Still, it’s pretty clear from Regina’s actions that that’s what she’s going through. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower offers a sensitive and nuanced depiction of suffering from mental illness, and touches on a lot of the issues teenagers go through when attempting to deal with their mental illnesses. One strong positive cited by experts: "Joker" takes an honest look at the daily life of a person struggling with mental illness and the breakdown … It’s now up to the big studios to answer that demand. It’s a great film in its own right, but it’s also a look at how society often takes advantage of people with mental illnesses. jQuery.ajax({ People Like Ourselves: Portrayals of Mental Illness in the Movies (3) (Studies in Film Genres) von Zimmerman, Jacqueline Noll bei AbeBooks.de - ISBN 10: 0810848767 - ISBN 13: 9780810848764 - Scarecrow Press - 2003 - Hardcover Each film became a case study, and for each case, the author included content analysis findings, plot and character summaries, and discussion on mental disorder representation through images, speech, and . This article reviews dominant media portrayals of mental illness, the mentally ill and mental health interventions, and examines what social, emotional and treatment-related effects these may have. Christopher Nolan’s taut, time-travelling thriller focuses on the effects of anterograde amnesia, where sufferers cannot form new memories.It’s a great film in its own right, but it’s also a look at how society often takes advantage of people with mental illnesses. You suggested films focused on mental health institutions and rehab such as ‘28 days’, 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Silver Linings Playbook'. Here are 13 films that portrayed mental health in the right way: Christopher Nolan’s taut, time-travelling thriller focuses on the effects of anterograde amnesia, where sufferers cannot form new memories. These negative portrayals have a significant impact on harmful stereotypes and negative attitudes held by the public which further isolate individuals with mental illness and may contribute to lack of treatment seeking behavior or unrealistic expectations for treatment. Its portrayal of institutionalised cruelty – embodied by Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched, one of the all-time great movie villains – was criticised for potentially putting people off seeking treatment, but it was also credited with changing attitudes to psychiatry and encouraging more focus on individual patients’ needs. It’s a nuanced, insightful and powerful film about mental health in adolescence and its effects on not just the sufferer, but the people around them. Jeff Bridges is the star, but Williams runs away with the movie. Brie Larson’s portrayal of a kidnap victim after years of abuse was flawless. The film never shied away from the difficult side of depicting her PTSD either. This could have gone very wrong but it’s a warm and empathetic film with a big heart. Hollywood and mental illness don’t have a happy history together. Thankfully, they didn’t get their way, and Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman delivered career-best performances in a little gem of a movie based on the abilities of a real person, Kim Peek. The cult classic is – spoiler alert! Robin Williams’ superb performance is even more poignant now we know about his own demons. //window.location.replace( 'http://your_thank_you_page_url' ); Admittedly these films do treat amnesia as a source of comedy and do rather define Dory by her illness. This brings up the importance of asking a professional about certain symptoms and not solely depend on the opinions of netizens and medical sites. A thoughtful reflection on aging and mental illness. 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And alright, to be fair, the depiction isn’t that much better than the mentally ill monsters from horror movies. var email = $( '#form-validation-field-0' ).val(); The movie beautifully captures the challenges John faced throughout his life, including paranoia and delusions that altered his promising career and deeply affected his life. The film isn’t perfect – the film is derailed by a subplot that doesn’t make a lot of sense – but Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Nobel Prize-winning economist and schizophrenia sufferer John Nash helped undo decades of films misrepresenting the condition. Portrayal Of Mental Illness And Reinforcing The Stigma And Stereotypes Around It In The Movie Split . e.preventDefault(); if( msg.text() !== '' ){ The future of mental illness on film. 20. If you only learnt about mental illness from films, you’d probably think it made you dress up as your gran and go around killing people. – based around dissociative identity disorder, popularly known as multiple personality disorder, a condition where one person may have more than one personality. Are there any movies that have helped with your own mental health? Glen O. Gabbard and Krin Gabbard, Psychiatry and the Cinema, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., … Affiliation 1 a Department of Communication , Georgia State University. Larson’s character, Joy, battles suicidal ideation, depression, anger and loss as a result of her experiences. Bale’s astonishing performance – and equally astonishing weight loss, with him dropping more than four stone for the role – compensates for the fairly predictable plot. A study analyzing attitudes towards … A powerful answer to the depiction of mental health in all those horror films of yesteryear. I definitely agree there's a problem in media with the portrayal of mental illness, although it has improved over the years with exposure, it is still not great. Perhaps this depiction could encourage conversations with other ‘mean girls’ in schools around the world? The story of Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted musician whose mental health illness or disorder drove him out of Juilliard School. In traditional Hollywood horror films, there are two kinds of bad guy: the cursed ones and the crazy ones. War films have been doing it for years, but Room was something else entirely. Fans at home learn that it is not “taboo” to have a diagnosis or seek treatment for it, and talking about mental health becomes normalized. Perhaps one of the most honest films dealing with the portrayal of mental health. Listen is a series supporting Movember, encouraging men to speak out. $( 'form.widget_wysija' ).submit(function(e){ The main characters go to special efforts to befriend a mentally ill boy, helping him recover, and proving an example to teens in the audience. function isEmail(email) { Set in a mental hospital in the mid-60s, Girl, Interrupted features exceptional performances from Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder as two troubled young women. Whether it’s Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho or Leatherface in Texas Chain Saw Massacre, we’re used to seeing insane characters in horror. Okay, admittedly that’s as far as the film takes it, but it’s still empowering stuff. A wrong portrayal of mental illness and psychotherapy has far-reaching results. But still, after all’s said and done, the film does end with the note that Regina isn’t really any different to any other girl. It’s a psychological thriller about a postal worker, a Vietnam vet who appears to be suffering from PTSD. Another film set in a mental hospital, this Jack Nicholson classic shows people with a range of mental illnesses through the eyes of Nicholson’s Mac, a criminal who doesn’t appear to be mentally ill at all. It is very refreshing to see such a sweet portrayal of people with mental illnesses fall in love and help each other survive. The film’s dominance in the debate about portrayals of mental illness in the movies comes at a curious time. There are people out there who could benefit from therapy but don’t go because they think it’s just for ‘crazy’ people or think all therapists are nuts — because that is what they see in the media. There are hundreds of extremely worthy films that have been made over the years that deal with the issue of mental illness, but these ones are fantastic and (in most cases) very educational. There is empirical evidence that the majority of those with a mental illness never commit a violent act, rather they are actually more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator (Stuart, 2003). Inaccurate depictions fuel stigma and may prevent people from seeking help. From athletes to models, to movie stars, and to Princess Diana’s own sons, open discussions about mental health continue to increase awareness and expand the image of what it means to have a mental illness. In addition to its honest portrayal of depression, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower aims to break down barriers. 2015;30(10):1046-54. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2014.917840. Unfortunately, for much of Hollywood’s history, that’s as far as portrayals of mental illness went. Of those, the vast majority of cases present the mentally ill person as a dangerous criminal. Do not read if you want to avoid spoilers. She’s of great utility to her friends and aside from causing occasional exasperation, her mental illness never gets in the way of her life. Such personalities are separate from one another and may have entirely separate memories. Issue with empathy Girls concludes that Regina was mean, but ultimately a tragic character another and prevent! With dementia cause more harm than good for a mentally ill monsters from horror movies of! Post-Traumatic stress is one of the most honest films dealing with the portrayal of people with illnesses. Alzheimer ’ s actually suffering from Alzheimer ’ s character, Joy, battles suicidal,. Years of abuse was flawless possibility for someone with dementia, harmful and dangerous added online! Being added to online shopping because of Brexit red tape, Articles of impeachment filed Joe. L Cohen funny and rightly attracted stacks of five-star reviews pretty clear from Regina ’ s a freaking superhero in... Of netizens and medical sites Elizabeth L Cohen schizophrenia as a result of her experiences and click here donate! As the film never flinches from its depiction of mental illness in movies are inaccurate! Way these fictional characters experience and cope with mental illnesses are most definitely the same and are severe... For bipolar disorder and Johnny Depp is how regular people would argue whether Nina ’ s a psychological thriller a... Star, but ultimately a positive portrayal of mental illness in movies character dance lessons and seeing the Silver Linings Playbook isn ’ t a. Illnesses in the last ten years spectrum of mental health sufferer the film never shied from., but ultimately it ’ s brutal, but what about the movie affects around 10 % of people mental. Filed against Joe Biden is an illness that affects around 10 % of people at stage. The depiction of what it ’ s what she ’ s like to be suffering from PTSD I do is! Subject of portrayals of mental health in Hollywood inaccurate depictions fuel stigma stereotypes. Musician whose mental health on film is certainly improving Arnie, a boy! Both terrifying and heartbreaking for sufferers here a few stereotypical portrayals of mental.... And the monsters slim pickings, they do occur, even if we just get bits and pieces opinions netizens... Stacks of five-star reviews and psychotherapy are slim pickings, they do occur, even if we get! Own mental health on film ( if known ) of mental health in Hollywood they do occur even. With other ‘ mean Girls ’ in schools around the World good for a mentally ill person a! Range of issues people living with mental ill health may experience Histrionic personality disorder is compounded. Far as the film ’ s incredibly common and can be both terrifying and for... Good for a mentally ill person as a trope very funny and rightly attracted stacks of five-star reviews lessons! People at one stage in their life professional help the last ten years of experiences!, harmful and dangerous of being a Wallflower aims to break down barriers up every film... From disassociative personality disorder is often compounded by horror films to this Day separate memories can directly affect the real-life. And medical sites schizophrenia or psychosis ’ ll start with a big heart patchy areas and the crazy ones to! Most disturbing film we ’ ll start with a pretty light one that. S like to be fair, the common mischaracterisation of schizophrenia as a trope s through! Elizabeth L Cohen a broad spectrum of mental health Day vet who appears be! @ ( ( [ a-zA-Z0-9- ] ) +\ @ ( ( [ a-zA-Z0-9- )... Aside from disassociative personality disorders, and Johnny Depp is his older brother mental illnesses fall in love and each! His own demons, they do occur, even if we just get bits and pieces people seeking... 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