Television and Mental Health

On nights that we can’t sleep we BLOG! (Well we actually tend to either read, listen to music or watch Television but I thought that was a great first liner😂).

Any-who, a great idea crossed my mind tonight and I thought I would share it with you all. This post will be based on television shows that have incorporated Mental Health.

It is not very common to see accurate depictions of mental illness on TV. Although many shows do discuss mental health, they more than often do it in a superficial way. Even when the disorder isn’t portrayed as accurately as it could possibly be, it’s still a breath of fresh air to see a protagonist who struggles with mental issues live their day-to-day lives as productively as possible.

with out any further delays let’s jump into it:

1. Sam’s life on the autism spectrum, as seen in Atypical.

Atypical was the best of them for me. A really good and well-studied portrait of a high school kid (Sam) on the autism spectrum struggling to pick up social cues and figure out girls — presented with humor but never shying away from the difficulties you face going through life with the condition. This show aired in 2017 and is currently on Netflix.

2. Monk

Pop culture’s most prominent depiction of OCD came in the form of Adrian Monk, the police consultant who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and multiple phobias. The show last aired back in 2009, but you can probably find this show online.

3. Wilfred

Critics have called Wilfred a whimsical study of mental illness, and they have a point. The main character, Ryan, suffers from depression with periods of mania and schizophrenia.

4. 13 Reasons why

The show focuses on Hannah Baker who takes on a ride in which she blames and targets all those who have done her wrong. The show doesn’t skirt around topics like depression, PTSD, or suicide, but charges them head on. This showed aired in early 2017 and can be found on Netflix.

5. Girls

Girls is a show known for its portrayal of four females attempting to make their way through the beginnings of adulthood and the struggles that come from that. While each of their characters have their own problems, it is Hannah’s struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that has been a focal point of the series. This show can be watched on HBO Go.

6. Homeland

If following along with the antics of the C.I.A. wasn’t hard enough, Homeland also showcases the ups and down of being bipolar. Since the beginning, you can see the main character Carrie’s (Claire Danes) battle with her mental illness. This showed aired back in 2016 and can be watched on HULU.

7. Crazy Ex Girlfriend

While the title may be a little off putting, Crazy Ex Girlfriend does not derive the term ‘crazy’ from its use of mental illness. Instead, the show very articulately portrays someone who is dealing with social anxiety and depression in a pretty complex way, though they never call it out by name. This show can be found on the CW11 app.

8. Being Mary Jane

During season three of Being Mary Jane, the protagonist loses a childhood friend to suicide. While the show had been tackling Mary Jane’s friend, Lisa’s depression since season two it was seeing the detrimental consequences of mental illness that shocked audiences. BMJ had confronted the prevalence of suicide earlier in the series, as well, but this was a turning point. It was also praised because the topic of suicide, depression and mental illness in Black communities is often ignored, particularly by the media. This showed aired back in 2016 and can be found on Netflix or the BET app.

9. United States of Tara

United States of Tara puts DID at the forefront. Tara Gregson is a suburban mom who has decided to forego her medication although she’s been living with the disorder since college. Her “alters,” as she calls them, include a rebellious teenager, a classic 50s housewife, a country dude, and a completely barbaric version of herself. This show talks about the reality of the disorder in a very open (but somewhat glorified) manner and also deeply examines how mental illness may effect the person’s relationships, too.

10. BoJack Horseman

“BoJack Horseman,” follows the washed-up 90s TV star (BoJack) and his struggles with addiction, relationships and maintaining his celebrity status, all the while satirizing the entertainment industry and current events. The show also touches basis with depression. This show can be found on Netflix.

These obviously aren’t the only Television shows that talk about mental health. It’s just so great to see that mental health is becoming a topic that is so widely discussed on multiple platforms.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! And if you have any Television shows that you would like to add please feel free to list them in the comments below.

Jaquasia c.

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