7+ Best Movies About Mental Health That You Must Watch 

Mental health and movies don’t go very well in accurately representing or depicting the struggles, challenges and overall day-to-day life of people suffering from some mental illness. 

Either it becomes entirely inaccurate, overtly dramatic, something of a shock value or even sometimes degraded as a joke. 

But some great movies tell the true and realistic narratives of people with mental health and remain true to a great extent. 

Many movies are based on mental health, but we are picking up these seven movies for you to watch. They are so good that even psychiatrists and therapists recommend these. 

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting is a heart-touching story about this orphaned young man from a violent and abusive background, making it difficult for him to deal with his trauma and find his way in life. 

The film depicts the struggles of this troubled young man named Will Hunting, who was brought up in a rough neighbourhood in South Boston. 

However, he had his friends, including Chuckie, played by Ben Affleck, who helped him through life. Still, all the foster families consistently abused Chuckie throughout his childhood, so he wasn’t also in a good state. 

All these experiences made him someone with a hard exterior, a more defensive who felt more safe throwing punches rather than expressing his feelings. 

Will is also a genius and could be someone who achieves greatness in his life but is caught up in his pain and trauma. 

He is certainly destined to be better than his current job as a Janitor at MIT, but he needs to get through his past and have the courage to pursue his true potential. 

Then, Sean, played by Robin Willaims, a psychologist from his own neighbourhood, enters the story and starts to help Will, helping him to look through his limitation. 

This film focuses a lot on challenges that come across to someone who is trying to overcome his childhood. Will has to go through a struggle to learn how to trust people again who care deeply about him. 

Also, Will finding Sean, a perfect person who understands him and gels perfectly with him, is something many mental health patients suffer from as it takes time to find the right professional to help you with. 

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook is about Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), who was forced to move back to live with his parents after his long stay in a mental health hospital. 

He has been struggling with bipolar disorder, and until it was diagnosed and put on treatment, he had already lost both his job and wife. 

Pat still sees his therapist Dr Patel (Anupam Kher), who helps him deal with his emotions and struggles throughout. 

And now, since he came through his treatment, he has trying hard to get her wife back, but in his journey, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who offers him help in exchange for Pat becoming her ballroom dance partner. 

The film deals with various ranges of different emotions that a bipolar person goes through, and it is represented in quite real and detailed, especially in certain situations. 

It also tells how people can get help professionally or develop a connection with others so deep and understanding that it can be beneficial to both partners. 

Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and other cast members in the film have given extraordinary performances to make the movie more grounded and realistic in its treatment without overplaying or underplaying the mental health representation. 

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012) is about this socially awkward guy Charlie ( Logan Lerman), starting his high school all anxious, worried and isolated. 

Fortunately, he gets to befriend a group of seniors, including Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), making his life a little bit easier.

They bring joy to his life but so much is happening inside him, making him anxious, which just gets doubles as these new friends leave him for college. 

As the movie continues, we learn more about Charlie’s mental condition and what exactly he is going through. We also get to see his journey so far, starting from his stay at mental health hospitals to his childhood trauma. 

It is a coming-of-age movie that talks about the lows and highs of a person who goes through mental illness. 

Inside Out (2015)

Inside out (2015)

Inside Out is perhaps the most unique way to demonstrate what goes inside the mind when dealing with different situations and emotions and how in-depth it impacts our personality and the outcomes of our life. 

So, on the one side, this animation film isn’t exactly about mental health but very interestingly depicts how a person struggles through different emotions. 

The story is about this 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) who goes through a major life transition, i.e. moving to San Francisco and what happens inside her mind where personalised characters representing every emotion are dealing with that. 

Inside Out is a film that creatively talks about the importance of acknowledging one’s emotion, registering it and processing it when it happens rather than suppressing it, which causes mental health-related issues eventually. 

We see every emotion in her mind personified, trying to deal with moving to a new city, meeting new friends and everything related to this new reality that she has to accept. 

This film is a must-watch for understanding mental health issues as the film takes inspiration from factual information.  

In fact, the filmmakers did their detailed homework consulting psychologists and neuroscientists to ensure that their depiction of emotions, memory and other aspects are as accurate as possible. 

The whole conflict of the film is about personified emotions inside Riley trying to keep her happy, but they eventually realise that she has to address and experience sadness or negative emotion to get through it and be actual happy as well as grow. 

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This is one of the truest depictions of mental health or the state of mental illness on-screen. 

A Beautiful Mind is a film based on a true story of a life of a brilliant mathematician named Josh Nash who, even though he achieved groundbreaking success in his early life, got sidelined due to his suffering from paranoid schizophrenia later in his career.

This movie has gained immense critical success due to this great representation of first-hand perspective from a person who suffers from mental illness and showing what it feels like to be going through that. 

The overall perspective of the film is through the protagonist Nash (Russell Crow), which becomes more detailed and true to their conviction in their experience of schizophrenia. 

Everything that the protagonist feels, the audience feels, and we can at least understand to some degree what mental illness does to a person, their perspective and their life.

The growing paranoia of the protagonist, his mind breaking into pieces, everything the audience can see as it begins and reaches its conclusion. 

However, it is important to keep in this mind that not every depiction related to Schizophrenia in this film is accurate, neither in real-life situations nor even not exactly what Nash experiencing. 

So, there is some creative licencing that the film takes to dramatise. However, the film still is the one that closes portraits that could be painted to reflect a person’s struggle with their mental illness, so other people can actually empathise. 

Matchstick Man (2003)

Matchstick Man (2003)

Matchstick Man is a movie that deals with a person with Obsessive Compulsive Order (OCD) and depicts the character’s struggles with mental health issues in the most honest representation. 

OCD has often been shown in movies and series as this weird behaviour like a mad man or sometimes even comedic, certainly very far from what actually goes with the person. 

But not with this film; the movies focus on the true struggles of a person, their aspects of life, the rituals they follow and what makes it hard to go through. 

The film is about Roy (Nicholas Cage), a con artist looking forward to stealing a lot of money with the help of his protege. 

He certainly is very skilled and confident about his ability to steal from rich people, but there is too much struggle in his life regarding other things. 

He suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks, and agoraphobia, which makes his life much more difficult, especially to leave his apartment. 

But then he was forced to question his career choice and this isolated lifestyle when he found out he had a 14-year-old daughter. 

Now, he is expected to steer through all these problems and deal with them to take care of his daughter. 

The Soloist (2009)

The Soloist (2009)

The Soloist is one of the potential mental health movies that can also act as therapy or at least an empathetic window to a life of a person who suffers from mental health and their struggle for connection and love. 

According to Matthew Welsh, MS, PhD, this film works on a powerful theme of whether a person should ‘fix.’ his/her friend or accept them as how they truly are but on a mental health preface. 

He says, “Steve is conflicted throughout the movie about whether or not he should try to treat or ‘fix’ Nathaniel’s schizophrenic condition; or if he should accept Nathaniel for who he is and just try to be his friend.” 

The doctor further adds, “The resolution of the movie, without spoiling the plot, helped me realise that true friendship means to love and accept others for who they are and also for who they are, not even if they have a mental illness that is inhibiting their life. This perspective can open our hearts to allow ourselves the freedom to be who we are and who we are not.”

The film talks about the meaning of true friendship in the condition where your friend or loved ones are suffering from mental health issues. 

The film features Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx playing Steve Lopez, a newspaper columnist and Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man, who become friends. 

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (2010)

It’s Kind of A Funny Story (2010)

It’s Kind of A Funny Story breaks this ill impression of mental hospitals being someplace were ‘insane’ or ‘mad’ people live. 

It shows the reality of most of these mental institutions and how helpful they are for people suffering from mental health issues. 

Rather than this scary place ‘where crazy people live’, it is portrayed as a safe place where people with mental illnesses can get help and cope with their situations in the best way possible with given facilities and the right treatment. 

Patients are also not shown as ‘insane’ as many media narratives have demonstrated in this weird light making people’s perception like a psychiatric ward is some hellhole with chaos and craziness. 

They are shown people struggling with mental conditions and having trouble getting help, but they use humour from time to time to get relief from their situation. 

It is about a 16-year old guy named Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who checks himself into this mental hospital due to his depression and suicidal behaviour. 

And since the youth wing of the psychiatric ward was under renovation, he had to stay in the adult unit, which invites different situations and an interesting story between these new characters he meets with their issues.

More importantly, this film is a comedy but without making any compromise with the seriousness of the mental illness, and still a way better portrayal than many movies and TV shows regarding this.

Featured Image Source: Sky
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