Back in the old days, we were aware of the concepts of mental health, but society didn’t encourage us to openly relate to those concepts such as depression and anxiety on a personal level. There have been deeply entrenched stigmas associated with mental illness, still are, despite the fact that one-in-five US adults will suffer from a mental condition in their lifetime, impacting their loved ones alongside.
In recent decades, we have begun to talk more and more about mental health. And have come to see mental health in a different, more compassionate light. It’s been possible due to easy access to information through the web and availability of high-speed internet, mental health activists utilizing the social media platforms for awareness agenda, more mental health awareness groups forming on the social networks, and encouraging individuals to talk about issues that were previously considered taboo. Even recent TV shows and movies are attempting an accurate and humanizing portrayal of mental illnesses, unlike the past instances, where mentally unstable people were particularly depicted as murderous and scary.
The TV shows and movies tend to have a powerful impact on all sorts of audiences as they broaden their perspective on mental health and make them more aware of its ubiquity and impact. The shows are especially poignant for those with illness as they view their own struggles on-screen in lifelike detail. Consequently, changing the way we have our conversations around mental health.
So here we are celebrating some of the best TV shows of all time that depicted mental health in a more realistic manner and contributed towards its awareness. Here we go:
BoJack Horseman may be an animated series, but is one of the most powerful shows. The Netflix original series has been highly praised for the way it handled sensitive issues like addiction and depression.
The protagonist, BoJack Horseman is an anthropomorphic horse, who we see attempting to dull his pain due to his previous bad behavior with a much worse one. The show explores all sorts of ideas and stories, but the main theme revolves around addiction and how celebrities foster toxicity.
So if you still haven’t caught up with this masterpiece, then catch it on Netflix.
Based on the Marvel Comics of the same name by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, the Netflix original series, Jessica Jones, has been so far the best portrayal of PTSD.The protagonist is a private investigator with some extraordinary powers but has been scarred from her past trauma. If you like Marvel superheroes, then Jessica would definitely be your favorite as she is relatable. She’s not a strong silent survivor, rather an unpredictable and messy one as she faces her demons often literally and stumbles towards healing.
The Netflix original series, Lady Dynamite, loosely revolves around the real-life story of actress and stand-up comedian, Maria Bamford, and her hospitalization due to her depression and bipolar disorder. The show has been lauded for a realistic yet humorous representation of mental illness, for showcasing that darkness can coexist with fun, creativity, and hope.
The BBC documentary by Louis Theroux, Mothers on the Edge, focuses on one of the most unpalatable yet understated truths about childbirth and motherhood. About 85% of women experience some level of mood disturbance after childbirth. Most of them experience mild and short-term symptoms, but there are 10 to 15% unlucky mothers, whose
symptoms develop into severe postpartum psychosis (PP).The documentary tells multiple stories of women, whose mental health got tattered after delivering their baby so much that most of them weren’t even equipped to be near their new-born child. Those ladies had to be admitted into specialized units until they recover their mental faculties.
Nadiya Hussain, a practicing Muslim Bangladeshi immigrant, won the famed Great British Bake Off in 2015 with endearing grace and good humor. However, not all that glitters is gold.
In the BBC One Documentary, Nadiya: Anxiety and Me, she shares the crippling face of anxiety behind the vivacious and cheerful façade. The documentary is her contribution to the Mental Health Awareness week, in which she candidly speaks out about her overwhelming anxiety and how she copes with it.
Who doesn’t like a good love story? The Normal People on Hulu is a TV adaptation of a novel of the same name by Sally Rooney. Initially, the plot may seem like every other clichéd teenage novel with Marianne, an introvert, sarcastic outcast, who comes from money, and Connell with a poor family background but is quite popular, and is blessed with beauty and athleticism.
More than love, it may seem like a lust story as the protagonists experience instant attraction, but we also see more than hormones at play as the characters get to know one another. The show centers on several important themes, including loss, consent, and men’s mental health.
Parks and Recreation may be known for its comedic characters and scenes, but it has also received plaudits for the way the series portrayed depression via its perpetually optimistic and cheerful character, Christopher “Chris” Traeger. The way Chris plunges into his depressive moods is highly relatable to many as one moment a person can be so happy, and a teeny-tiny thing is all it takes for a person to break down. All the seasons, from 1-7, are streaming on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix.
The NBC series, This is Us, is an emotional roller-coaster drama of the Pearson family. The show has been praised for its accurate portrayal of anxiety. And when the character, Randall, experiences a panic attack as his vision blurs, a sense of unreality sets in, and he disconnects from his body, the audience felt it. But the audience has also taken issue with scenarios such as when Randall’s brother comes to help and support his brother as he is undergoing a panicked episode. Because such a selfless and loving response from a loved one in the face of one’s mental illness seems quite unrealistic and impractical. Nonetheless, it was sweet to see such a response. The series is streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
These were the top 8 shows where you can watch a realistic and humanizing representation of mental illness. So don’t forget to stream these incredible shows on your favorite live TV streaming service.
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