This post is all about best Mental Health Movies, which are not just some wonderful pieces highlighting different mental illnesses, but are capable of guiding us all.
Who doesn’t love movies? Movies help us connect to our self, to our realities. They leave us thinking, offer new perspectives on our lives.
There are times in our lives when we feel lonely, left out, detached from the world. Movies become our companion then, taking us to their world where there are characters just like us.
We see them struggling too, we see them in their good and bad moments. We realize we are not alone this world. We too have people like us. All of us are fighting our own battles.
It’s not always possible to stay by their side or help them directly, but the moment we know we aren’t alone, we feel more confident which immediately makes us stronger.
Last year, my best friend fell into severe depression. No matter how much I tried to be there for him, it wasn’t working. He would not respond. That was when I tried looking for other ways to help him out. Consulting a friend who is a psychologist, I gave him a bunch of DVDs of movies on mental illness, in his case, depression.
He has always been a movie-buff and could never say ‘NO’ to movies. Soon, we were happily performing our favorite musical together. He would tell me how he healed, watching those movies, connecting with the characters and understanding how to move on, let go of the past.
Movies help us heal, more so for sensitive issues like a mental illness where one is not comfortable with sharing with others.
Our fears, our insecurities come to life and we understand how to deal with them. It’s not about happy endings, it’s about the struggle, the situation, the crisis.
Some leave us in tears, some in joy. But above all, we feel, we connect. We understand ways to help others, stand by them when they face similar situations like us.
My best friend suffered from depression. But there are other types of mental illnesses too, like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s among others.
Filmmakers from all over the world have worked on these mental illnesses and created some wonderful movies.
Here is the list of Mental Health Movies creating awareness about different types of mental illnesses which are not just some wonderful pieces but are capable of guiding us all.
(1) The Babadook:
Type of Mental Illness: Depression.
Theme: The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent and released in 2014 is about a woman whose husband dies in a terrible way. She is left alone with her son who is succumbed by the fear of a monster. Before she realizes, she could feel its presence too.
The movie doesn’t give a solution to depression. Rather, it teaches us to accept the fact that there might not possibly be any cure but there can be ways to keep it in check.
(2) Black Swan:
Type of Mental Illness: Schizophrenia.
Theme: Directed by Darren Aronofsky, psychological thriller, Black Swan was released in 2010. The plot revolves around the life of a ballerina who suffers from Schizophrenia. In the movie, she is seen hallucinating which give rise to a lot of other physiological and psychological problems including eating disorder, which happens to be a significant mental illness in today’s time.
The movie explores the challenges one might face in their life. The challenges are different but if we help each other, stand by each other and hold on, fight with all our strength, then there are ways to overcome them too.
(3) Jacob’s Ladder:
Type of Mental Illness: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Theme: Directed by Adrian Lyne, this psychological horror film was released in 1990. It deals with Jacob who is a veteran of the Vietnam war. It revolves around the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as we find Jacob experiencing hallucinations and scary flashbacks.
The horrifying visuals bring out the real-life situation people with PTSD undergo. It helps us realize how tough our psychological battles can be but there is always hope.
Type of Mental Illness: Depression.
Theme: Released in 2011 and directed by Lars von Trier, Melancholia is a science fiction film and also a psychological thriller.
Through the world of Justine, we come to know of the life of depressed people, how every moment they feel their world has fallen apart and the next moment succumb to an eerie peacefulness.
Amidst a damaged relationship, Justine is left alone in a family which is full of dysfunctional elements. She is surrounded by people who deliver all the ugly signs of humanity, contributing to her detachment from the world.
It’s only when the earth is on the verge of getting struck by a gas giant and everyone goes into a state of fright, Justine is the only one to display wisdom.
The movie shows how depression affects not just the individual but also the family.
(5) I Smile Back:
Type of Mental Illness: Bipolar Disorder.
Theme: Directed by Adam Salky, the movie was released in 2015. The protagonist Laney Brooks is happily into drugs, sleeps around with men in spite of having a husband and kids. It’s only with the destruction of her family that she realizes her mistake and tries her best to overcome them.
6. Rain man:
Type of Mental Illness: Autism.
Theme: Released in 1988 and directed by Barry Levinson, Rain Man is an American road comedy-drama film.
Charlie (Tom Cruise) discovers he has an older brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). While Charlie is autistic, Raymond has an incredible memory and incomparable math skills. The characters get to know each other during a road trip across the country. Not only they learn about disabilities, but the journey offers them a life-changing experience.
7. As Good As it Gets
Type of Mental Illness: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Theme: This 1997 American romantic comedy film is directed by James L. Brooks. The film stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic and obsessive-compulsive novelist. The movie depicts how ostracizing it can be for someone to live with OCD and how troublesome it is for them to make connections with people, who understand them.
8. Still Alice
Type of Mental Illness: Alzheimer’s disease.
Theme: This American independent drama film is written and directed by Richard Glatzer. Still Alice was released in 2015. The movie starring Julianne Moore as a linguistic professor chronicles her journey from the day she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Loss of memory, trouble performing activities of daily living, and the efforts of family member trying to support her while watching her deteriote in front of eye – will leave readers in tears and heartwrneching sobs.
9. Charlie Bartlett
Type of Mental Illness: ADHD.
Theme: Charlie Bartlett, released in 2007 and directed by Jon Poll is an American comedy-drama film. The movie depicts how a rich kid struggling with ADHD, turns into a self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new public school. While using unconventional methods to help people with body image, sexuality, and other deep-seated problems, he ends up finding his true calling.
10. Girl, Interrupted
Type of Mental Illness: Borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Theme: Girl, Interrupted is a 1999 American psychological drama film directed by James Mangold. The movie shows what happens inside an American psychiatric hospital for women and how Susanna (Winona Ryder), who suffers from BPD, tries to figure out who she truly is. You will be surprised to know what it was like to live with mental illness in the 1960s and how much society has changed today. The movie also gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
11. Gaslight (1940)
Type of Mental Illness: Gaslighting – A psychologically abusive act of manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity.
Theme: Gaslight 1940 is a British psychological thriller film directed by Thorold Dickinson and Gaslight 1944 is American psychological thriller film directed by George Cukor and a remake of the 1940 British film with the same name. In the movie, Alice Barlow in found murdered in her apartment. Years later, a couple moves into the house and discovers shocking secrets. The killer slowly tries to drive his wife insane in order to find out the location of some jewels and valuables.
12. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Type of Mental Illness: Eating disorder.
Theme: American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and was released in 1993. The movie stands out for his frank and affecting portrayal of an eating disorder as well as intellectual disability. Gilbert is caught between his love for Becky and his responsibilities towards his autistic brother and Bonnie, his morbidly-obese mother.
13. A Beautiful Mind
Type of Mental Illness: Paranoid schizophrenia.
Theme: This American biographical drama film was released in 2001. It is based on the life of the American mathematician John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematical genius, Despite the fragile mental state that traps him into delusions, he forms mathematical equations and formulae to solve problems and discover new theories. The movie well portrays the thin line differentiating imagination and hallucination.
14. Fight Club
Type of Mental Illness: Dissociative identity disorder (DID) and Insomnia.
Theme: This is a 1999 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. A white-collared insomniac forms an underground fight club with Tyler, a careless soap salesman. The project soon spirals down into something sinister. The movie exposes the darkness at the core of our modern world.
15. Brain on Fire
Type of Mental Illness: Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that can attack the brain.
Theme: Brain on Fire is a 2016 biographical drama film directed and written by Irish filmmaker Gerard Barrett. Based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, the movie depicts her life as she experiences a rare neurological disease. She struggles to live with this and to get an accurate diagnosis.
Apart from all the list, there are numerous other mental health movies one might like to watch. You don’t need to go through any psychological issue to watch them but if you or any of your peers do, watching these movies will help you all to learn and understand better.
Please consult a doctor before starting or stopping a medication or taking a decision about mental illness.
If you or someone you know needs help, Act Immediately and seek professional help. Speak up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some movies about depression and anxiety?
Filmmakers from all over the world have worked on these mental illnesses and created some wonderful movies like A Beautiful Mind, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, As Good As It Get, Melancholia etc.
What is a good movie to watch when you’re depressed?
When feeling depressed, you should watch feel-good movies like Rain Man, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, etc.
What are some songs about depression and loneliness?
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, Skyscraper by Demi Lovato, The Night We Met by Lord Huron, Fix You by Coldplay, etc. are some good songs about depression and loneliness.