Mental Illness and the Movies
This summer, mental illness was a huge part of the big screen.
According to The Herald, which has compiled a list of current and upcoming movies featuring mental illness, at least half a dozen recent releases reflect characters, both real and fictional, experiencing mood disorders.
Monarch Clinical Director Chris Abbey, MA, LPC, said having more movies portraying mental illness is ultimately a positive trend in Hollywood.
“The media—cinema, in particular—have incredible influence over our cultural perceptions. That responsibility carries tremendous weight. How people living with mental illness, substance use and developmental disabilities are portrayed in movies and on television helps shape the beliefs of the general public,” he noted.
And while Hollywood has not always gotten the depiction of mental illness or disabilities right, it can still provide a springboard for discussion.
“Some films show a much more honest depiction of the struggles and triumphs of living with a disability. For these movies, and the people who create them, we are grateful. Though it certainly can be damaging, even a negative portrayal provides a springboard for discussion. And the more we as a society talk about these issues, the better,” Abbey said.
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