Feb. 25, 2021 – And while mental illness still holds far too significant of a stigma in modern society, that stigma is decreasing; mainstream depiction in films seen and loved by many can be a major factor in continuing to break down that wall. 

Movies either centering on or touching upon mental illness aren’t a new concept, but the range of genres doing so is wider than ever before. From romantic comedies to action blockbusters, a discussion on mental illness—and mental health—can be found almost anywhere. In fact, a movie doesn’t even need to be about mental illness or mental health to be part of the ongoing surrounding conversation. That could be a good way to normalize the conversation, and some of the movies on out list below do a great job of doing so. 

The list below is in no way expansive, but it does cover a lot of ground. Some movies are great, some are merely good, but all do a great job of facilitating the conversation that it’s important for all of us to be having.  The following are just a few of the 18.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook follows its two main characters closely. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan and diagnosed bipolar who’s recently been released from a stint in a mental hospital, and Jennifer Lawrence (in her Oscar-winning role) plays a widow dealing with her own mental illness in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

The movie, rightly considered a classic, finds a criminal who pleaded insanity (Jack Nicholson) in a mental asylum, helping to lead his fellow patients in an uprising against the abusive nurse (Louise Fletcher) who takes advantage of them.

The King of Staten Island (2020)

He plays a kid from, yes, Staten Island, who’s lost his father at a young age, and has grown up his entire life with depression and a diagnosis with bipolar disorder.

Welcome to Me (2015)

 The former SNL star here plays a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who wins the lottery after stopping taking her medication, and immediately uses the money to buy and put on her own daytime talk show. 



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