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Movies are a great tool to learn about the world. It’s important to watch movies about either people unlike yourself to get a new perspective or people who are just like you so you can learn that you’re not alone. Throughout my psychology classes, we’ve watched a lot of movies regarding mental health. I found that although these movies can be sad, they provide me with a sense of comfort in knowing that other people are going through the same struggles as me. It also helps me learn about disorders that I was not aware of. I’ve found that these movies did a really good job of portraying real-world issues in a genuine way.  

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is my favorite movie of all time. Not only is it a great book, but the film adaptation is just as good. It deals with the main character Charlie’s PTSD, depression and anxiety. It balances Charlie dealing with his mental illnesses in a high school and coming of age setting. This shows how mental illness can affect daily life and also shows a journey to recovery. 

A Beautiful Mind

We watched this movie in one of my high school classes and I’ve never forgotten about it. Schizophrenia is a disorder I did not hear about often, and this movie nailed its portrayal of this disorder. It follows a professor as his life spirals out of control due to his schizophrenia. It’s a really cool movie in the aspect that you can see how his schizophrenia really affects all aspects of his life, and how his hallucinations can seem so realistic. 

Inside Out

Inside Out was a really refreshing movie in terms of mental health. Many movies regarding mental health follow the same path of things going wrong, a big breakdown and recovery. This movie isn’t like that at all. It follows the emotions of a young girl as she lives her life. It shows how all emotions are valuable and needed, no matter how bad they may seem. 

To The Bone

To The Bone is the story of a girl living in an eating disorder recovery facility. It is really sad to watch as she and the other girls in the facility try to recover. Recovering from an eating disorder is a lot harder and more complicated than I thought before watching this movie. It takes you into the mind and daily activities of recovery and is very important to see.

While there are still not a ton of popular movies out there regarding mental health, it has improved a lot. People are becoming less scared to talk about these topics, and the stigma is decreasing. The more media that is made regarding mental health, the more knowledgeable and accepting people will be. It will also make people feel like someone is going through the same thing, as they go through the same struggles as these characters. If you’re interested in books regarding mental health, check out a previous article I wrote here: https://www.hercampus.com/school/wisconsin/important-ya-books-about-mental-health   

Courtney Shady

Wisconsin '23

Courtney is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying psychology, education, and gender and women’s studies. She is from the suburbs of Milwaukee. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee, going to concerts, and loves hanging out with friends.
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