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Best Movies That Accurately Depict Mental Health

According to health experts, these are the best movies that accurately depict mental health.

By Stephen HamiltonPublished 7 years ago 3 min read
Top Story - August 2017

Mental health is one of those things that Hollywood rarely gets right. In fact, Hollywood has rightfully earned a reputation for misleading people about mental illness and the treatments that are used to treat different mental health issues.

However, once in a very rare blue moon, Hollywood will create a movie or show that accurately depicts mental health in all its gritty unglory. According to healthcare experts, the following films are ranked among the best movies that accurately depict mental health.

Surprising as it may be for some to hear, the classic 1988 film known as Rain Man is considered to be one of the best movies that accurately depicts mental health by NAMI. The main character's struggles of coping with autismare known for being dramatic — but not oversensationalized.

Critics also pointed out that Rain Man's ability to show the disconnect between the main character and others is spot on. Moreover, the depiction of a mental health care facility in the 80s also is fairly realistic in certain cases.

This little-known movie is heavily focused on a self-absorbed psychiatrist called Dr. Leo Marvin and an exceptionally anxiety-ridden man by the name of Bob. Though the movie itself is supposed to be a dark comedy, What About Bob? does a fantastic job of showing the pitfalls of living with anxiety.

Anxiety makes you incredibly needy, and that need for constant reassurance can make you act pretty clingy. If you've ever wanted to see how bad that neediness can get, what the patient-psychiatrist dynamic really can look like, and the importance of finding a doctor, this is a great film to examine.

In fact, NAMI also rated this one of the best movies that accurately depict mental health because of the doctor-patient dynamics.

Sometimes, the most accurate depictions of mental health are also the most subtle. This was the case with As Good As It Gets, which focuses in on a man with OCD and how isolated a person can be because of their mental health issues.

Many people might not make the connection between the social isolation and the main character's OCD at first — but it becomes very apparent as the movie progresses. Perhaps that's why it's one of the best movies to depict mental health in the past three decades.

The best movies that accurately depict mental health aren't usually the ones that involve crazy scenarios with knives. Silver Linings Playbook is all about a bipolar man who, upon leaving the psychiatric unit, works to get his life back together.

Like many people who suffer from bipolar disorder, Pat Solatano had pushed everyone away from him — including his wife. Silver Linings Playbook follows him as he picks up the pieces, reconciles with everyone, and copes with his bipolarity.

One of the more recent films to get noticed by NAMI for an accurate depiction of mental health would have to be the 2014 indie flick, The Skeleton Twins.

In this movie's opening scene, viewers get a pretty good look into what a person with depression behaves like. It's a candid movie about two depressed people who struggle to accept themselves — and the characters' charm definitely adds an extra layer of humanity to it.

If you appreciate films that show a more human side to depression, this will be a smash hit with you.

Inside Out is one of the only films that looks into mental health through the eyes of a child, and thankfully, it's one of the best movies that accurately depict mental health in a way that children can understand.

The movie shows each of the girl's feelings in a different way, each with its own personality. As such, it gives a great look into what goes on in a child's mind and also gives kids a great crash course in psychology, mental wellbeing, and more.

For the young Post-Millennial in your life, this video will offer a great way to learn about feelings.

The top on any list featuring the all-time best movies that accurately depict mental health is almost always A Beautiful Mind. The reasons for this are manifold, and every single layer makes it all the more impressive a film.

As most people already know, A Beautiful Mind follows the story of a schizophrenic genius who has a scholarship at Princeton — but suffers a breakdown.

The way schizophrenia is depicted, complete with hallucinations everyone thought were real, is completely accurate. The movie's reflection on him coping with his mental health, as well as their depiction on how mental health was treated back then, are also fairly accurate.

Overall, A Beautiful Mind is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand schizophrenia better.

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About the Creator

Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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