Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mental Illness in: Movies

On the weekend as part of our churches sporting team we had 2 members from another church join us, it was great getting to know them both. What wasn't great is that I wasn't prepared for it (as you know my life has been full of distractions lately) and my first thought was 'what if they think I'm crazy?!' once they get to know me, (its a very in your face weekend surrounded by your teammates to say the least!). Here's the thing, I am 110% open with dealing with anxiety as in I don't hide the fact that I struggle with it. While most of the time no one really cares, I do get a few people who think I am crazy (or that its all in my head and I could get over if I really wanted to) because of it. I will openly admit that I see a psych and take medication for it (for me its due to a chemical imbalance as the base then its the environmental aspects) because for me its not something to be ashamed about, yet for some people its still hard to talk about.
This is why its important that TV shows, books and movies show mental illness as key themes as it gets people talking about it and shows people that dealing with mental illness isn't a major issue.
Continuing on with my series about mental illness in the entertainment industry is movies. I have tried to think about films that show mental health in realistic ways and only came up with two which is really unfortunate (please let me know if there are others I would love to watch them!).

 First up is one of my favourite movies that I think all young adults should watch.
Its Kind of a Funny Story - its story about Craig a young adult who feels overwhelmed with life and decides he will jump off a bridge instead though he checks himself into the mental ward of the hospital. You get to see what lead to his breakdown, how environmental factors effect your mental health and how he copes being surrounded with other people going through their own mental health problems. This film breaks down stereotypes regarding mental illness and helps you see that everyone struggles with mental health
When I first saw this film I was amazed at how well it was done and loved how I could relate to the characters.  Its one of those films that I think everyone can relate to and doesn't get enough credit for how good it is, the trailer (below) is well worth watching.

Silver Linings Playbook (blurb taken from IMDB) - After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
This is another good film about mental illness but targeted for a slightly older audience than Its Kind of a Funny Story. I showed this film for the ReachOut film night I did as it covered mental health really well. Rather than just focusing on the main characters with the issues it focuses on the whole family and how they are coping it, also how society reacts when someone gets diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

Hopefully in the future more movies will feature mental illness, the more movies (and TV shows and books) that do the more that people will realise that its ok to be not ok.

Coming up in the series is books, you can read the first part of the series here.

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