MENTAL HEALTH ON SCREEN
Lately, a bunch of celebrities have opened up about their personal struggles with mental health, as actress Kristen Bell penned an essay to share her story for instance. Whilst sharing our story is brave step to take, it can also benefit many other lives. Many TV shows have thus introduced storylines that focus on mental illness as film plots do.
Let’s concentrate on a few of these storylines (side note: this list is based on suggestions, I claim by no means to have watched these, these are sole recommendations).
EMPIRE (Fox TV show, 2015 musical drama) ☛ character: Andre Lyon
Son of the hip-hop mogul Lucious (Terrence Howard), Andre Lyon is an executive in the family’s company. Andre has a bipolar disorder and his on a spiritual journey to find his identity. Trai Byers, the actor who portrays the character, has stated that he works a lot on emotions which are ‘in the darker places of [himself]’. The storyline tackling his illness focus on his relationship with his dying father, after being off medication, his coming death pushes him to the brink.
Many critics and experts have declared that it was indeed a faithful portrayal of bipolar disorder.
- How Accurate Is Empire Treatment of Bipolar Disorder?, Slate, Aisha Harris, March 2015
PRAYERS FOR BOBBY (Lifetime docudrama, 2009)
Based on the true story and as told in a book entitled Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son by Leroy F. Aarons, this is the story of Bobby Griffith. In 1983, Bobby’s mother (Sigourney Weaver) discovers that he is gay. She tries to talk him out his orientation due to her Christian intolerance. After accompanying him to psychiatrist and eventually seeing him with his boyfriend, she explicitly rejects him. Bobby falls into depression and self-loathe, eventually leading him to commit suicide.
Not only is this the story of Bobby, it is the story of a parent who struggles with suicide loss.
ONE TREE HILL (The CW drama) ☛ storyline: Jimmy Edwards’ downfall
Tree Hill High School student, Jimmy Edwards was a good friend with River Court guys Lucas, Marvin, Antwon and others. As Lucas and his other friends’ popularity increased, he found himself lonely and upset. In a time capsule video dedicated to future students, Jimmy highlighted that he was being ignored by his old friends but also bullied. The time capsules were revealed sooner than expected so he expressed his anger directly to his old friends. Someday, he took a few students hostages in a classroom. As some people were hurt, Jimmy believed that nothing could get better and killed himself.
BIG BANG THEORY (CBS sitcom) ☛ character: Pr. Sheldon Cooper
Portrayed by Jim Parsons, Sheldon Cooper struggles with personality disorders which include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and borderline personality disorder (PND). Sheldon has struggles interacting with others, nevertheless, his mental health problems do not deprive of a successful career and social life.
- An analysis of the character’s disorders: https://reelrundown.com/tv/Sheldon-Cooper-PDs
Do you recall any film/TV show which portrayed mental illness in a way that moved you? On the contrary, do you have any examples in mind of unfaithful and clichéd representation?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
THIS IS MY BRAVE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created by Jennifer Marshall because she learned first hand how powerful and therapeutic it was to live openly and not hide her diagnosis. She wanted to give brave individuals from the community a platform through which to creatively share their stories of living with mental illness to educate and inspire others. Jennifer was diagnosed with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder in 2006 at the age of 26. She’s had four hospitalizations within five years – two before any diagnosis was reached, and two more because she was trying to protect her newborn son (postpartum psychosis) and her unborn daughter – and all were because she was unmedicated at the time. Writing her way through life with a mental illness became her way of healing, and her blog BipolarMomLife has become an inspiration to many.
+ A song by young singer-songwriter Nicola Elias about social anxiety:
- DEFINE PROJECT: End the stigma, 9 role models from Canada share their story.
- Suffering Out Loud: More people share their story, The Washington Post article
- Honestly Talking to Friends About My Depression, Fraser Speaks, The Mighty
- For People Who Don’t Know They Are Depressed, Christina Soh, The Mighty
- The Perfectly Hidden Depressed Person, Dr. Margaret Rutherford, The Mighty
- Why Actor Chris Wood is speaking out about mental health, Media Planet
Blogs about mental health:
- What I Didn’t See (and what I’m beginning to)
- A Sea of Blues — Riding the waves of depression
- This Is What A Person With Mental Illness Looks Like, a collection of stories
- Secret Diary of An Agoraphobic
- Tackle The Stigma, We can beat this!
- In Silence We Suffer
- Letters To The Mind: pen a letter to your mental illness
- Making Sense of Mental Illness
- Living With Depression
SEND MY YOUR BLOG URLS AND INTERESTING LINKS YOU FOUND TO ADD TO THE LIST!
TAKE THIS SURVEY ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH & YOU FOR AN UPCOMING BLOG POST.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH IS OVER BUT IT THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE SHOULD STOP SPEAKING UP ABOUT IT! KEEP SHARING YOUR STORY!
#imnotashamed #youmatter #sicknotweak #fightthestigma