7 TV Shows That Accurately Portray Mental Health – SheKnows The show stirred up backlash for depicting the lead character’s death by suicide in gruesome detail. Mental health issues are real, and they ruin lives. To give you some context, “50 Shades of Grey” originally started out as erotic “Twilight” fanfiction, and is now a bestselling book series-turned film franchise. What fictional relationships did we miss? From throwing her to his pet hyenas in classic DC comics to offering to “give her” to a random gangster in the movie “Suicide Squad,” it’s hard to believe anyone would look kindly on The Joker and romanticize his relationship with Harley Quinn — but yet, here we are. Of the show Mighty contributor Brenna C. wrote, The new series on Netflix “You” highly romanticizes emotional and psychological abuse. It's a losing fight, going up against the myths pop culture perpetuates. It’s hard enough to discern whether or not a relationship is emotionally abusive (because it so often flies under the radar) — Hollywood, let’s not make it even harder by blurring the lines of what is OK and what’s not. Bella and Edward both did this. When thinking about the romanticism of mental illness in television shows, the first season of … The heroic stories of emerging from depression to the top have normalized mental illness as a mandatory stop in the journey to success. But with this surge in popularity comes a responsibility for cultural gatekeepers to handle topics sensitively. Let’s stop including Edward and Bella in “top couples” lists, and acknowledge what their relationship really is — abusive and unhealthy. It’s important to have conversations about the role Hollywood plays in shaping our understanding of abusive relationships, so with recommendations from our Mighty community, we analyzed four times Hollywood romanticized emotional abuse. Early in the film, Violet’s friend Amanda warns her about getting involved with Finch, but it’s later revealed that Amanda is in treatment for bulimia and two prior suicide attempts. For more resources and information about identifying emotional abuse, head here. "There are three main characters, and at least two of them have confirmed mental illnesses. Let us do without the marketing team’s lovey-dovey magic wand sprinkling the Nicholas Sparks effect on a beautiful attempt to narrate loss. A lot of the abusive elements from “Twilight” transfer over to “50 Shades.” Like Edward, Christian Grey is a wealthy, white, domineering male who stalks his prey (I mean “crush”?) The mental health space can be difficult for many people to understand. Let us know in the comments. The film follows Violet Markey (played by Elle Fanning), a high school senior reeling with survivors’ guilt after the death of her sister, and Theodore Finch (Justice Smith), a 17-year-old struggling with bipolar disorder and manic depression. Silver Linings Playbook and It's Kind of a Funny Story both emit ideas that having a mental illness is somewhat romantic, especially when introduced to a prospective love interest. Not sold yet? For a more extensive list of the awful things The Joker has done to Harley Quinn, head here. We Know Why Police Went Easy on the Pro-Trump Terrorists, A List of Everyone Complicit in This Coup Attempt, The Most Terrifying Threat to America Is Middle-Class White Guys Cosplaying a Fascist Uprising, Sex Has Evolved Beyond ‘Sex and the City’, Who You Insult When You Call This a ‘Wasted’ Year. ... Because I'm tired of seeing people romanticize the idea of having a mental illness. And while there’s nothing wrong with writing a book about having a boyfriend, there is something wrong with glorifying Edward and Bella’s relationship. By Bri Ray. On her book tour, teens cried on Niven’s shoulder and told her the book saved their lives. Social media has become a platform for young people to express themselves and connect with their peers, but it has also become a hub for romanticizing mental illness. Violence and verbal abuse against women are romanticized in many Hollywood movies, but perhaps none so blatantly as in Fifty Shades of Grey. Violet and Finch’s love story inspires giddiness and healing. Their conditions are not named in the film or anywhere in its promotional materials. Reaction to the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why captured this tension. Her book was published in January 2015 and catapulted to the New York Times bestseller list, with young fans clinging especially to her depiction of Violet and Finch’s mental health struggles. When she began writing All the Bright Places in 2013, she worried about honoring the gravity of the subject matter. If you live with mental illness, a show like You’re the Worst is downright revelatory. | Movies like Silver Linings Playbook and A Beautiful Mind are terrific in this aspect. Augustus Waters dies from osteosarcoma in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars; Rachel Kushner dies of leukemia in Jesse Andrews’ Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. “It’s a litmus test to see the mental gymnastics that we’re still willing to perform on a cultural level, to love an evil white man.”. It will be all the motivation I need for season 2. https://t.co/fy2hojauDG, — Penn Badgley (@PennBadgley) January 9, 2019. Why It's Imperative For Society To Stop Romanticizing Mental Illness. The series centers on bookstore clerk Joe Goldberg, who stalks and then manipulates Guinevere Beck (who goes by “Beck”) into dating him. In roundabout ways, All the Bright Places affirms important truths: Without insight and recurring discussion about our mental health, conditions such as depression can remain mysterious to ourselves and others. But by the time the story reaches its tragic end, I was left wanting to host an All the Bright Places conference with the film’s staff, a slew of mental health experts, and teens to explore the layers of grief, trauma, and emotional injury the film raises but resolves too easily. Somehow our move to “delete the stigma” surrounding mental illness has drastically changed towards a trend to “romanticize the stigma.” While mental illness isn’t something people should be scared of, it also isn’t something that people should aspire to have. And that special feeling is out-of-the-world. “Growing up is realizing he was a stalker/manipulator who had to have control.”. The whole point of view makes you almost feel sympathetic for the abuser/stalker… which is “insane.”. Elsewhere, there have been more sympathetic portrayals of female mental illness – including Gena Rowlands in John Cassevetes’ A Woman Under the … Let us know in the comments. 2021 Mighty Proud Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. As Mighty community member Haylee wrote, “I think it wasn’t the writer’s idea to make them ‘couple goals.’ I think that’s just the people who think, ‘Wow she loves him no matter what!’”. February 1, 2019 Gross at Heart. Ditto. Terms, “I think it wasn’t the writer’s idea to make them ‘couple goals.’ I think that’s just the people who think, ‘Wow she loves him no matter what!’”, recommendations from our Mighty community, most successful young adult series of all time, As I alluded to in the intro, before even knowing Bella, Edward creeps into her room every night to watch her sleep. Christian and Ana from “50 Shades of Grey” Second on the list is basically still “Twilight” — just way, … One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a great book that illustrates mental illness as it is: dark, unrelenting disorders that deeply affect people’s psyche. An essay on how the media (in particular films and TV) tend to fetishize mental illness. And so far, Hollywood has struggled to reconcile the reality of illness with its penchant for glamour. If 13 Reasons Why glamorized suicide, All the Bright Places obfuscates it. (Totally “acceptable” in Hollywood as long as you’re a rich, uber-hot vampire, of course.). Young lovers throw stones at a bedroom window, break curfews, and strip down to their underwear before cannonballing into a body of water. Bella often threatened suicide if Edward threatened to leave. He claimed he views it as “motivation [he needs] for season 2,” ostensibly for convincing viewers Joe is not actually a good guy. ), Edward controls where Bella can go and who she is allowed to see. They both cling to each other in a way that’s obsessive and creepy, not romantic. Rather than watch a teenager deflect an adult’s well-meaning but out-of-sync approach, a more productive scene for viewers to unpack would be to see a professional gifted in working with young people. It’s true the film provides a kind of psychological relief, but not for the suicidal character who needs it most. Obsession, to the point that you isolate yourself from friends and family for this person, is not healthy. The film’s cover art features two smitten teenagers in a forehead-to-forehead embrace, their noses close enough for the pair to kiss. In December, Netflix made Lifetime’s TV series “You” available for streaming, and it has been generating buzz ever since. Having a mental illness separates one from the crowd. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers observed an uptick in suicide rates for teens between the age of 10 and 17 within a month of the show’s release. A Majority of Mormons Embraced Trumpism. The books and movies both contribute to the stereotype that women are a place for men to heal themselves at the expense of a woman’s mental health. And that is dangerously tragic itself. Parents, educators, and even mental health professionals can be oblivious or not in a position to help. Not surprisingly, people have mistaken the movie as a new teen love story. If you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please do not hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273-TALK (8255). It implies that pain is pretty and completely disregards the struggles of people who actually suffer from any such illness. Maybe focusing on how and what lets us cope in some way on the reality of suicide; maybe we mythologize suicides because mental-health stuff seems somewhat prosaic, a problem we should look at solving, and overwhelming at the same time. Let’s break down some of the facts. Mighty community member Carla W. wrote. What is misunderstood or underexplored is stigmatized or stereotyped. It’s a recognizable tableau indistinguishable from the latest Nicholas Sparks’ adaptation. After season one, Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, partnered with Netflix and helped decide to delete the portrayal of Hannah Baker’s suicide two years after the premiere. Image Source: iperfectedthesmile1 Especially on social media sites, like Tumblr and Instagram, some communities have developed a very problematic way of dealing with mental illness.They describe mental illness as ‘tragically beautiful’. Mira, one of the main characters, has depression, and … Now What? Her story differs from many common YA narratives, where tragic love stories unfold along a linear timeline following the diagnosis of a terminal illness. However, love stories within the context of depression, mental health, and teen suicide are far more delicate to construct. With Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy. Love is one thing. “Watching the movies and reading the books when you’re younger, it’s like he’s so protective and it’s endearing,” Mighty community member Calsey G. shared. Horse Girl. As a collective, doctors, storytellers, and culture-at-large are floating too in the sense that we’re finally talking about what it feels like to drown. While this open online discussion can help foster a sense of community, there has also been a trend of treating mental illness like it’s something that should be sought-after. Mighty contributor Megan C. said of the pair. A Glamour U.K. headline, for example, declared the film “The rom-com we need in our lives.” That’s not quite right: All the Bright Places is a soaring love story with witty characters, but it isn’t a rom-com. This has resulted in an explosion of films, TV shows, and novels — from Dear Evan Hansen to 13 Reasons Why — that center around mental health. While her previous boyfriend wishes she’d move on after her beloved sister dies in a car crash, Finch asks thoughtful questions to draw out her emotions. As blogger Robin Browne put it. It makes me cringe when I hear people fantasize over the relationship [between] The Joker and Harley Quinn. Instead of volleying his quips, the therapist pleads for Finch to join a support group. Mental illness and low self-esteem are terrible things, however, it seems that in our effort to destigmatize them we have begun to romanticize them. ... movies … Because left unchecked, people go around spewing every dumb thing they learn from movies and shows that are really just using mental illnesses to advance a plot and make a buck, instead of teach us anything useful. Even though they too have their faults, movies like Silver Linings Playbook, A Beautiful Mind, and Girl, Interrupted do a more accurate job of depicting mental illnesses than most others. Privacy Not all movies with mental illness have an MPDG, but that doesn't mean they aren't guilty of romanticizing it. Second on the list is basically still “Twilight” — just way, way less PG. After all, it’s important to show life as it really can be. These narratives require even more collaboration between medical professionals, entertainment executives, and creators in rooms where decisions about how mental health stories are greenlighted, written, edited, produced, cast, and promoted. Mighty community member Alli L. explained it this way: Bella and Edward were obsessed with each other. For more information, call or visit www.suicidepreventionhotline.org. Art imitates life, and in real life, people can sometimes be unhealthy, dysfunctional and problematic. Does anyone even read the descriptions to these videos? Niven said that Violet and Finch’s relationship was “just that opportunity to be seen by someone and to see them at the same time.” But why can’t we see more stories where people are truly seen outside of romance? While the title might indicate differently, Horse Girl actually isn’t a quirky film about a girl … Even though joe is a stalker,” the official Netflix account of the U.K. and Ireland responded “yes.”, — Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) January 2, 2019. pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.overrideAttributeFunctions(); This Twitter user isn’t the only one to have “missed” the intention of the series — which begs the question, did the show do a thorough enough job of showing Joe as the bad guy? It appears you entered an invalid email. Was the satire too subtle for the average viewer? Movies such as "Girl, Interrupted," "Valley of the Dolls," "Silver Lining’s Playbook," and "Heathers" all glorify different disorders. (Need I explain why this is stalking, not “sweet”? The film shrouds mental health in the trappings of YA romance. Caitlin Roper, a blogger for The Huffington Post U.K., describes Christian’s abusive behavior in this way: The “romantic” lead is Christian Grey, a deeply disturbed individual who immediately begins stalking the naïve and virginal Ana. “You” was meant to be a social satire challenging toxic masculinity, social media identities and hipster culture, but many viewers found themselves “shipping” Beck and Joe, the latter which (spoiler) is a violent stalker. However, content producers need to understand that mental illnesses are not beautiful. It’s like, oh my gosh, it’s a whole new audience, and I felt a whole new wave of responsibility,” Niven told GEN. “And I had to tell myself the same thing: All I can do is write this story the way I lived it.”. But, dammit, someone has to do it. Sometimes it feels like romanticization of mental illness is everywhere these days and this feeds mental health stigma. After 13 Reasons Why was released in March 2017, concerned parents and medical professionals feared the show would lead to copycat suicide attempts. For more, check out this article examining each of the National Domestic Hotline’s criteria for an abusive relationship, and how Edward ticks off every box. Directed by James Mangold. Triggering someone's mental illness is funny. When Finch visits his guidance counselor, Mr. Embry (Keegan-Michael Key), viewers are brought into a stilted therapeutic rapport. Unsurprisingly, given the story originated from Twilight fan fiction, the popular erotic novel and subsequent movie smacks of emotional abuse.What are the real-life effects of movies that romanticize abuse against women? Badgley has even taken to Twitter to voice his concern about people romanticizing Joe. If “13 Reasons Why” glamorized suicide, “All the Bright Places” obfuscates it. Many psychological and mental health organizations condemned t he show, with the National Association of School Psychologists saying, “Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.”. — in this case, a naive, inexperienced girl named Anastasia “Ana” Steele. A Closer Look at the ‘QAnon Shaman’ Leading the Mob. When mental health issues are misrepresented in TV and movies, help to shed light on this by adding to the conversation surrounding it. “Harry Potter” is all about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity … “Twilight” is about how important it is to have a boyfriend. Instead of having her own storyline, Amanda’s mental health is presented as an afterthought in service of viewers’ understanding of Finch’s. As all forms of media romanticize mental illness, people may find faking mental illness to be interesting or to seek attention. © This is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress or those around them with support, information, and local resources. Mighty community member Carla W. said because of his past, “he had every right be ‘damaged,’ but there were ways he could have properly gotten help.” She shared the book and movie romanticize an incorrect use of BDSM that is largely condemned by people in the BDSM community. TV shows or movies often romanticize or stigmatize mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), "Eating disorders are serious biologically-influenced mental illnesses, not passing fads." But not everyone is a fan of this comparison. Research somewhat confirmed their fears. Christian Grey is the only character in the entire book that actually has character development. The film was optioned in 2014 — before the book was even released. The 1967 cult classic, “Valley of the Dolls,” depicts Sharon Tate’s character’s suicide as beautifully tragic—almost too beautiful. We need to have clear conversations about healthy behavior in relationships, and not glorify examples of emotional abuse. Reading any kind of crappy quotation on a beautiful picture looks very inspiring. It will take depictions of intimacy of all kinds to continue to coach us through the hard task of really talking about our mental health in the context of relationships. In particular, tumblr has allowed teenagers and young adults to share and create unfiltered posts about mental illness. The counselor’s imploration isn’t malicious so much as reflective of the solvable distance between some mental health professionals and young adults. Characters with mental illness are portrayed as flawed, beautiful There’s a gorgeous image near the end of All the Bright Places that is worthy of the cover art. Why can’t we see more stories where people are truly seen outside of romance? Author Jennifer Niven based the story on her own love interest who took his own life when she was 29. ... the disturbing fanbase he’s posthumously acquired are taking center stage in discussions involving these pieces of film and the man they’re about. This romanticization could lead to seeing mental disorders as something that can be easily diagnosed. The allure of romance isn’t what will compel viewers to a story about grief, depression, or suicide. Was the Capitol Hill Attack an Inside Job? The 1998 film Heathers follows the life of Veronica Sawyer, the witty and contemplative protagonist who is disillusioned with the shallowness of high school and her ultra-popular, conventionally beautiful, and wealthy friends: the “Heathers.” The film became a cult classic for its use of sardonic, dark humor to illuminate issues of teen-bullying, sexual violence, and apathy. Oops! Some have suggested that because Christian was sexually abused as a child, the book gives him a “pass” for his sexually “deviant” or exploitive behavior. Still, it was a struggle to construct a mental health narrative that “gets it right.”, “I had to tell myself the same thing: All I can do is write this story the way I lived it.”, “In writing the screenplay, I felt that same wave of nerves. “I personally feel it is a bit of a social experiment,” he said on a press tour. The reality is, Edward, “Twilight’s” sparkly vamp dreamboat, is emotionally abusive — and we need to talk about it. Today, people everywhere are romanticizing mental illness. Did we miss any other movies or TV shows that romanticize emotional abuse? When a Twitter user posted, “Is it weird that I ship joe&beck? So romantic…). Edward threatened suicide if Bella died. Instead of high school love taking center stage in Netflix’s next big mental health narrative, I long for different relational lenses to explore depression and suicide: friendship, siblinghood, extended relatives, or spiritual communities. Or perhaps we are merely enthralled with death and especially self-inflicted death. (Remember when Edward breaks a part of her car so she can’t drive to see her friend Jacob? Whether it’s some trendy post about what mental health “is” or how people with mental health illnesses “actually” are, it’s pretty likely to be somewhere in the social media sphere. If we put the abusive behavior aside for one moment, we can see that the foundation of the relationship is unhealthy to the core. But there’s a fine line between showing the reality of an unhealthy or emotionally abusive relationship and idealizing emotional abuse, like say, implying it’s “romantic” to sneak into your crush’s bedroom in the middle of the night to observe them sleeping. The obsession has gotten so outlandish, in fact, that Netflix has spoken out about it directly. Christian is jealous, controlling and manipulative and has a penchant for sexual violence (this man just has “catch” written all over him). Niven says she chose to write about teenagers to create distance from her own experience. Instead, Netflix’s one-liner for All the Bright Places is “two teens facing personal struggles form a powerful bond as they embark on a cathartic journey.”. While many abusive situations are not as extreme as situations The Joker and Harley Quinn find themselves in, “shipping” these two may reinforce the idea that “love” means putting up with any kind of treatment — which couldn’t be further from the truth. If we want to really swim when it comes to art about mental health, we will have to show — with utmost sensitivity and thoughtfulness from cover to end — what it looks like to sink. Penn Badgley, who plays Joe in “You,” thought the reaction to the show would be telling of our cultural norms surrounding privilege. It’s no secret the film and TV industry has churned out some unhealthy, dysfunctional, problematic — you name it — fictional couples over the years. Moreover, no LGBT film characters had mental health condition across the 100 top films of 2016 and only 8 TV characters across 50 popular shows grappled with such issues. Love interests in movies involving mental illness almost always give off the idea that a romantic relationship can cure mental illness… There’s a scene in an early season of "Glee" in which … Not only is Christian’s behavior abusive, Ana has very little agency and character development — which some argue shows the controlling role of the abuser in her life. Black-and-white photos of self-harm scars overlai… Augustus Waters dies from osteosarcoma in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars; Rachel Kushner dies of leukemia in Jesse Andrews’ Me and Earl and the … The promotional material for Netflix’s new young adult novel adaptation, All the Bright Places, would have you think it’s adding another sappy romance film to its collection. Whether you’re someone struggling, a friend trying to understand, a teacher wondering how to introduce your lesson, a doctor trying to decide on a diagnosis or simply a campaigner trying to reduce stigma, it … Ah, “Twilight.” The tween-tastic vampire book series that made young hearts swoon everywhere is often likened to one of the most successful young adult series of all time, “Harry Potter.”. Television and Film; Dance; Visual Arts; ... fanbase is a grave indicator of this generation’s tendency to romanticize mental health problems. I mean… he literally pushes her through windows and ignored her existence the majority of the time. He even attempts to persuade Ana to sign a contract that allows him complete control over her, from making herself available to him for sex on demand down to dictating what and when she can eat. Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s. Multiple films/cartoons/shows romanticize how abusive The Joker is towards her. Light pours on Violet, who is floating on her back along the endless lake waves of Indiana’s Blue Hole. How Watching Movies Can Benefit Our Mental Health Medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board — Written by Janet Singer on December 20, 2018 It’s that time of … The Los Angeles Times is committed to reviewing new theatrical film … This is a fact nobody can dispute, and I don’t want to try. Ana is just a blank slate for women to put themselves in her place. When done right, share it and celebrate! 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