Mental Health Awareness Week: Shows & Movies With Mental Illness

October 9, 2018 0 By admin

Many TV shows and movies have characters that have mental illnesses. Some are more accurately portrayed than others. This list is made up of shows that the public generally agrees are at least somewhat accurate, and the creators have taken steps to make the show and illnesses as accurate as possible. 


If you are unfamiliar with the show, it’s about a single father and his kids.  One of the characters, Ian, suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Many people in the mental health community praise the portrayal of the disorder and say that it helps them understand and cope with their own. The actor even stated that he prepared for the role by watching documentaries and reading autobiographies of individuals living with Bipolar.

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is a marvel character who must overcome her PTSD in the first season

Jessica Jones is a TV show based off of the Marvel comic about a girl with super strength who has to work through her PTSD to bring down her previous captor and stop him from doing the same to others. The show portrays her PTSD in unpredictable flashbacks, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and depression. Another Marvel Netflix original, Punisher, also features characters who suffer from PTSD brought on by the military.

United States of Tara

A tv show about a suburban mom who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, does a good job at portraying what life is like with the disorder and how it affects your life such as marriage, family, and career. The only part of the show that is the most inaccurate is the blatant and obvious switch between the characters’ alters. The show did an amazing job at gathering as much information from people who actually live with the disorder, professionals in the mental health industry who specialized in DID, and had consultants for the show who have DID.

BoJack Horseman

Cartoon BoJack Horseman suffers from depression and addiction in this tv show

For those of you who like cartoon shows, this one portrays a 90’s tv star who is struggling with addiction, depression, and relationships. Many individuals who struggle with mental illness who watch the show say that it is one of the most accurate portrayals of depression on tv.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

A comedy about life in a mental health hospital makes this movie portray mental illness in a light, but still accurate way. The main character Craig checks himself into the mental hospital for his depression and suicidal ideations. The movie sets out to normalize that sometimes, people need this type of help.

Welcome To Me

For the Bridesmaids lovers out there, Kristen Wiig starred in this movie about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who stops taking her meds. The movie accurately portrays the symptoms and relationship troubles that individuals with Borderline face and what it can do to their lives. The only inaccuracy in the movie is that she is given up on by her therapist. One of the main rules of being a counselor is that you cannot give up on your clients. They can give up on therapy and themselves, but you are not allowed to give up on them.

The Soloist

The movie based off of the true story about Nathaniel Ayers, a musician with schizophrenia, tells the story of how Nathaniel gets discovered by Los Angeles columnist Steve Lopez.

Call Me Crazy

This movie follows five people and their lives as they suffer from different mental disorders including Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD. It stars many big movie actors such as Jennifer Hudson and Brittany Snow.


Troian Bellisario in a still from her movie Feed about her struggles with an eating disorder

Troian Bellisario (Spencer in Pretty Little Liars) wrote, produced, and starred in this film she wrote about her own journey recovering from an eating disorder (dramatized and not the exact story). This movie does a great job at portraying developing, living, dealing, and recovering from an eating disorder without romanticizing it.

You’re The Worst

This show focuses on multiple characters who all suffer from a mental illness. Jimmy is a narcissist, Edgar is a military vet with PTSD, and Gretchen suffers from depression. A specific episode in season three, Twenty-Two, focuses solely on Edgar and the unfortunately general experience military vets have with receiving help for their posttraumatic stress disorders.

Here is a link to the previous posts in the series!