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5 must see films that shine a spotlight on mental health

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Published 21/04/2022
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by Richard Howlett
Mental health can often be treated like the kind of taboo subject that we should only talk about in whispers behind closed doors, when in reality we should be talking about it as openly and honestly as we would talk about having any physical illness.

Here’s a list of five films that talk openly and honestly about mental health, their causes, and the effects it can have on you and those around you.

The Breakfast Club (1985)
This probably isn’t a film you would initially think of when you are exploring the topic of mental health, but really that is all this film is about. Every character is supposed to represent one stereotype or another, but under the surface you discover peer pressure, broken homes and abuse, that all add up to give our characters some real depth and substance.

Good Will Hunting (1997)
This modern classic depicts two different characters, each with their own unique mental health issues, who come together and ultimately help each other move forwards. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a brilliant mind but suffers from depression and anxiety because of a troubled upbringing, while his therapist Sean has also been battling his own depression ever since the passing of wife. Good Will Hunting has a lot of poignant moments and some very quotable lines.

The Squid and The Whale (2005)
This film is less about a specific mental health issue, but more about the toll that something like divorce can have on a family, and especially on the children. It is surprisingly witty, brutally honest, and incredibly insightful.

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Tony Stark is a billionaire, a genius, and a superhero, but underneath all that he is still human. After the events of his world saving exploits in The Avengers (2012), Tony is suffering from panic attacks and insomnia brought on by PTSD. This is not something that Disney and Marvel needed to address in a big summer blockbuster, but they did, and they did it in a way that felt natural and that lets people know that even superheroes need help sometimes.

Inside Out (2015)
This animated film from Disney Pixar is a great one to explore the idea of emotions and mental health with children. Of course the film is filled with jokes and action sequences, but it also reminds us that sadness and anger are just as natural as happiness, and we should not be afraid to acknowledge and become comfortable with our full range of emotions.

Thanks for reading, hopefully you will find something here that resonates with you, and if you have your own suggestions then please let us know in the comments below!

If you are looking for some more suggestions, then why not also take a look at a previous film blog by clicking the button below:
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