Whether they painted them in a good or bad light, the popular media has been including mental health topics for many years, and there have been arguments in favor and against having them discussed in them. This article will talk about some of these from both angles so that you can see what TV and movies do right and where they fall short.
Below you will read about some ways the portrayal of mental health issues in film can be positive:
It Brings Awareness
One of the best parts about mental health in movies and television is that it brings attention to the issues, and it certainly has played a role in destigmatizing it, and sometimes, this can lead to more people getting diagnosed and treated, which can only be a good thing.
Despite being fictional usually, unless specifically stated that it’s based on a true story, millions of people see these shows on their screens and can empathize with the characters or even relate to them.
It Can Be Empowering
Carrying over from the previous section, where people can identify with some of the characters, it can also make them feel more hopeful or optimistic. For instance, Silver Linings Playbook is centered around a man with bipolar disorder who wants to get his wife and life back and Rain Main showed that people who are on the autism spectrum can do extraordinary things.
Overall, there are many movies whose message is to try to let viewers know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that it’s possible to overcome them and live normal and healthy lives.
While there are some great things that TV shows and movies can do, there is usually one large thing that many people can argue outweighs the benefits of them, which you will learn about next:
They Can Be Wildly Inaccurate
One of the biggest complaints that people have surrounding this issue is that it illustrates mental illness in a way that is not true and accurate and sometimes it can even create stigmatization or fear of people who struggle with these conditions.
A good example is movies perpetuating the idea that people with serious conditions like schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder are violent, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even if the message is good, inaccuracies can still occur, especially in regard to treatment. Returning to Silver Linings Playbook, it essentially tries to say that love and relationships can help solve mental illness. Similarly, the TV show Insatiable attempts to oversimplify eating disorders and that people can overcome them by dietary choices alone.
In reality, mental health issues and their treatment methods are a lot more specific and detailed than that and typically require the assistance of a professional.
As mentioned earlier, movies can make people more aware of these issues though, and thankfully it can help people get diagnosed and properly treated with therapy and medication.
If you have any concerns, it’s best to reach out to a mental health professional today, such as the licensed counselors and therapists at BetterHelp, or your primary care doctor, as this will give you a real path to getting treated and start changing your life for the better.
At the end of the day, movies and TV are all about entertainment, unless it’s stated otherwise, and it’ll be up to you to weed out the facts from fiction. Nonetheless, as long as the topics remain popular, mental health in the media will be here to stay along with the positive and negatives that come from it.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.