It’s almost near impossible to find an accurate representation of mental health illnesses on television when the entertainment industry appears to indulge in glamorising depression or showcasing split-personality disorders in thrilling movies that have you watching from behind a cushion.
But, while there is a lot of, dare we say it, fake news out there in both TV and film, a handful of programmes have managed to get it right.
From the likes of BoJack Horseman to This Is Us, a string of series and documentaries alike have approached the much needed difficult conversations when it comes to mental health.
Some may be hard to watch at times, while others might hit a little too close to home, and that’s okay, what’s important is that mainstream shows are tackling hard-hitting subjects with a sensitive and honest approach.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Day, Metro.co.uk has put together a list of TV shows that have done this.
And don’t forget that while today is a nice reminder to check in on yourself and those around you, protecting our wellbeing is an all-around the clock task.
This Is Us
This Is Us highlights the importance of men talking about their mental health through many a character but most importantly, through Sterling K. Brown’s Randall Pearson.
Randall has suffered from anxiety since childhood, seeing a number of events in his life (life his father’s death, his mother’s Alzheimer’s, and a house break-in) have an enormous effect on his state of mind.
After reaching breaking point, Randall – who is always at the top of his game – finally reaches out and gets professional help.
Brown puts on a stunning performance throughout the six seasons showcasing raw anxiety attacks, to real life coping mechanisms, and quite frankly hits the nail on the head when it comes to living with anxiety.
Louis Theroux: Mothers On The Edge
Louis Theroux revealed his fear of mansplaining motherhood after tackling postpartum psychosis in his documentary, Mothers On The Edge.
But in fact he actually does the complete opposite, as the much-loved journalist provides a sensitive look at how pregnancy and childbirth can affect the mind of new mothers.
From post-natal depression to severe anxiety that can see women on a mother and baby unit for weeks, Louis interviews those who are suffering mentally to get a better understanding of what can be done to help.
It’s a heartbreaking, yet educational watch at how women can get their lives back on track following the birth of their babies.
It might come as a shock to people that a cartoon can tackle mental health disorders so well, but BoJack Horseman manages to do it perfectly all through a humanoid horse.
Once the star of a 90s sitcom, BoJack is now trying to learn how to live life after dropping off the radar, and ends up drowning himself in sex, drugs and alcohol.
Showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg has spoken at length about how his team try and approach mental illnesses in a way that is realistic and approachable – and they have been praised endlessly by fans for doing so.
But it’s not just BoJack that suffers in the show, it’s the ensemble of his friends who, despite being ripped into on a daily basis, keep coming back to BoJack – showering him with the love and support he needs to overcome his depression.
Normal People made headlines for its realistic sex scenes and raunchy moments that had fans glued to the screen.
But the show also tackles mental health incredibly well, from abusive relationships to the death of a loved one, and how grieving can take it’s toll on the body, spirit and mind.
Stars Paul Mescal and Daisy-Edgar Jones have created a beautiful yet tragic take on the Sally Rooney novel.
And once again, it’s a show that shed light on the importance of men getting help through their darkest of times while having the strength to support their loved ones and spotting suicidal tendencies in those they hold close.
Jesy Nelson: ‘Odd One Out’
Little Mix star Jesy Nelson was brave enough to share her battle with depression in one of the most raw documentaries of today.
The singer takes a deep dive into the world of social media, and how online trolls can have a long lasting and negative impact on someone’s state of mind.
With the help of her then boyfriend Chris Hughes, Jesy opens up on her past suicide attempt and how she would starve herself before photoshoots with the hope of seeing positive comments on her Instagram.
It’s an honest documentary, with absolutely no bells and whistles, and a must watch for those avid social media users.
Julie and The Phantoms
Julie and The Phantoms might appear all glitz and glam – after all, it was written by the High School Musical director Kenny Ortega.
However, this one was a real shocker as it took a heartfelt approach on loss, grief, moving on and acceptance, and it was all a bit too real.
Behind the incredible soundtrack and outfits, is a girl who is coming to terms with losing her mother – finding support in three ghosts who are all facing their own mental battles.
It’s a family show for sure, but is definitely one that will hit home no matter what age you are.
Slightly different to the other shows listen above, Atypical shines a light on caregivers and how their mental health is just as important as the people they are looking after.
Focusing on the schoolboy Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, the series takes a look at his approach to life and how his disorder affects his family.
Especially when he starts to look at universities and the possibilities of moving away from home – with his new girlfriend.
It’s an endearing and enlightening show that looks at every aspect at a family dynamic and how each individual’s choice affects the brood as a whole.
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