5 Films That Tackle Mental Health

by The Candy Staff   |  Jan 21, 2021
Image: Courtesy of Netflix
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Movies have been an avenue to present the different realities that people live in. Over the years, films have been used to shine a light on various mental health concerns. Through these, viewers become aware that there are different mental health issues being experienced by real people, and that they're not always readily identified and accepted. While depression is one of the most common mental health conditions being faced globally, there are also other types of mental disorders. 

Below, a few films that touch and promote awareness on different mental health conditions:    

Warning: Some films might contain themes related to depression, anxiety, suicide, and other potentially triggering content. 

It's Kind of A Funny Story

Starring: Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, and Viola Davis

Plot: A 15-year-old high school student named Craig decides to admit himself for one week at a hospital's psychiatric wing after having suicidal thoughts. Craig has been suffering from external pressure in school and at home. During his stay, Craig meets and forms bonds with the other patients in the ward, including fellow teenager Noelle and an adult patient named Bobby.

All the Bright Places

Starring: Elle Fanning, Justice Smith

Plot: Based on the novel by Jennifer Niven, the film follows two teenagers trying to grapple with their own personal plights: Violet is the lone survivor of a car crash she and her sister were involved in while Finch, abused by his father as a child, is battling depression. The two meet on the bridge where the car crash happened, and from there, they begin to bond and form a relationship. Together, they help each other find peace for themselves. 


To the Bone

Starring: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Alex Sharp, Liana Liberato

Plot: The film follows Ellen, a 20-year-old girl with anorexia who has yet to get better despite trying several recovery programs. She enters another program facilitated by a specialist, where she meets other patients hoping to recover from their condition. The film depicts the struggles of people with eating disorders and how these manifest and affect them in their daily lives.

Silver Linings Playbook

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

Plot: Pat exits a mental health facility after eight months of receiving treatment for bipolar disorder. With his ex-wife getting a restraining order against him for beating her lover, he moves back with his parents and eventually meets a widow named Tiffany, who also has her own struggles with her mental health.

Inside Out

Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black

Plot: The animated film focuses on 11-year-old Riley, including the five most common emotions residing in her mind--Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Riley and her family just moved to a new house, and Riley is trying her best to adjust to the changes in her life. While the film does not explicitly mention a specific mental disorder, it promotes and acknowledges the fact that what goes on in our minds affect our everyday existence and that each emotion (not just Joy, because life isn't always happy and positive) can coexist with each other and has an equally important role in how we navigate through life.

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