As someone who lives with a lot of anxiety, I find the lack of representation of mental illnesses in movies pretty upsetting. After all, about one in five adults will suffer from some sort of mental illness in their lifetime. This can be anything from anxiety, depression, eating disorders… the list goes on. That is a lot of people! So if such a hug epart of the population deals with mental illness, then why don’t they show up in movies? There are a lot of movies that imply mental disorders, but most of the time they are downplayed or not accurately portrayed. Granted, it can be hard to really show what it’s like to have a mental illness because there are so many different types, and everybody is different. But a lot of the time, movies make people with mental illnesses like OCD or anxiety the butt of jokes, which is not cool.
Anxiety and other mental illnesses like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder can’t be “cured,” even though Hollywood might make you think that it can be. These illnesses are real and affect a person’s day-to-day life. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, it’s important to know that you’re not alone! You should check out these movies that you might be able to relate to because of the way the portray mental illness. Take a look:
Silver Linings PlaybookThis book and movie both accurately portray the complexity of mental illnesses, and how they can affect every aspect of your life. It focuses on one character who just got out of a mental hospital and follows how he tries to put his life back together after being gone for so long. It shows his struggles with coming to terms with the fact that he has an issue, and also shows important family dynamics. But, the main reason why you should watch this movie is Jennifer Lawrence's character, who does an amazing job of portraying depression, especially in women, which isn't showed in movies that often. You can watch it on Amazon Video.
Girl, InteruptedThis classic '90s movie is a cult favorite for a reason. It does a great job of showing how poorly people with mental disorders can be treated. Girl, Interrupted follows a group of girls in a psychiatric hospital and their rocky relationship with their doctors and nurses. It's really intense and sometimes sad, but a really good look at what it's like to spend time at a mental hospital. You can watch this one on Amazon Video.
The Road WithinThis is another movie that focuses on the treatment of young teens in a psychiatric hospital who eventually decide to escape, except this one isn't quite as well known as Girl, Interrupted. The plot explores the lives of three different patients; one with tourettes, one with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and one with an eating disorder. It also does a good job of addressing the stigma around mental illness, specifically with the patient's families. You can watch it on Amazon Video.
The Virgin SuicidesFrom the title of the movie, it's obvious that this movie is pretty dark. It begins with the death of one of the Lisbon sisters, who are a part of a mysterious family in Michigan in the 1970's. The girls all have depressive tendencies, which causes their parents to become overbearing and overprotective, rather than helpful. It's a good look at the depression in teenage girls, but with a tragic twist. You can watch this on Showtime On Demand.
The Perks Of Being A WallflowerAh, high schoolers. They are often filled with anxiety and depression, though it is so rarely talked about. Logan Lerman plays Charlie, a depressed high school freshman who is just trying to make his way through school. This is an important movie to watch in order to realize that depression can't be cured, but you can live with it and still lead a good life. You can watch this one on Amazon Video.
It's Kind Of A Funny StoryAfter a particularly bad depressive episode, a teen named Craig checks himself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital, hoping to get some treatment. There, he learns a lot about himself and the other patients. This movie is a must-watch, because it shows that even with mental disorders, people can still have a sense of humor. You can rent this one on Youtube.
Inside OutI know this one is a kids movie, but hear me out: the main character, Riley, goes through a period of depression and anxiety after she moves away from her friends. Besides mental illness, it also explores every emotion imaginable, and how they are all an important part of growing up. You can rent this movie on iTunes.
Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!