October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and to celebrate, we decided to talk a little bit about some of the best movies and TV shows that cover this super important topic without making it weird, uncomfortable or just bad representation in general. But these seven movies and shows did that masterfully, join us in taking a look at them.
Starting with a classic, Black Swan is one of the best-known thrillers out there, but aside from making the hairs in the back of our necks stand up, it also does a pretty good job of showing the effects too much pressure will have on someone’s mental health. Being pushed too far to be perfect in a toxic environment is what ends up causing Nina’s ruin. This isn’t exactly “positive,” but what it does very well is show what happens when mental health is neglected.
We had to, and we’re not sorry for it. Ever since its beginning in 2008, the MCU has been evolving in many ways, one of which is showing their superpowered characters are also people. We’d say human, but we don’t think Thor, Loki and Gamora would be pleased with that. Anyway, the point is: the more new movies and shows come out, the more characters we see being vulnerable and, in most cases, seek help when they need it.
Tony Stark is still working through his PTSD in Iron Man 3; Thor is clearly depressed after losing everything in Infinity War (and that shouldn’t have been used as a joke in Endgame,(but that’s a whole other conversation); we could sit here and write a 15-page essay about how much Odin’s neglect affected Loki’s mental health; Bucky is going to therapy in TFATWS; among countless other examples. Bottom line: these movies have been doing a mostly good job of showing how people, even such powerful ones, have their mental health affected by their environment, and here’s to hoping they’ll keep doing that. We like it, it humanizes the characters and makes us love them more.
This Is Us
Get the tissues if you plan on watching this one, folks. This Is Us is an entire show focused on a single family: the Pearsons. This family goes through a lot over the seasons, from alcoholism to grieving loved ones, it’s safe to say they have many issues. And the great thing about this show is that it doesn’t shy away from talking about them. Some characters have lost a loved one decades ago and are still not completely okay with it. And that’s completely normal. Every member of the family deals with things differently, but their support for one another is what makes the Pearsons such an awesome TV family.
Say what you will about Supernatural, but there are very few shows that show what depression and anxiety look like in such an unfiltered way as this one. Sure, in the show those feelings come from fighting actual demons and other supernatural beings, but that’s not super different from the metaphorical demons we all face in our lives. We see Sam and Dean struggle but ultimately always defeating the monsters and at the very least that’s inspirational. The show also did a pretty good job of showing the consequences of a parent expecting too much and not parenting enough (*glares angrily at John Winchester*.)
Oh Pixar, always giving us wonderful stories that also teach a few lessons along the way. And Inside Out was no different. Essentially what we’re seeing throughout this movie is Riley growing up and how her emotions respond to that. On top of growing up, she’s also moving away from everything she knows, a fact that also deeply affects her. So much that some people would even say we’re seeing the beginnings of a possible depression for Riley. And things only start getting better when she talks about her feelings and asks for help in dealing with all these changes.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Yep, we’re really going for some timeless classics here. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life became a holiday tradition embraced by many, but maybe the topic of mental health in the movie may have bypassed you when you watched it. But we promise it’s there. Or are you going to tell us you don’t think the man who thinks “no one would miss me if I was gone” isn’t someone currently working through some stuff? George Bailey has a literal angel to come to Earth and show him the truth, in real life, we have our loved ones and our therapists to help us with that.
Perks Of Being A Wallflower
We’re closing the list with another classic: Perks of Being A Wallflower. The movie has one of the best representations of dealing with mental health issues during adolescence, and it does so with characters that are much more than their struggles. Worth watching both for that and for being a great coming-of-age story in general, honestly.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list and we’d love to know what other shows and movies you would include in it! Tell us in the comments or tweet us @TheHoneyPOP!
Featured Image Source: Courtesy of NBC.