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    May 25, 2020

    21 Movies That Truly Understood What Mental Health Struggles Are Like

    These are all movies everyone should watch at least once in their lives.

    In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what movies got mental health right. Here are some of the best!

    WARNING: Some of these submissions contain mentions of sexual assault.

    1. Mystic River (2003)

    Warner Bros.

    "Dave's childhood sexual abuse plays an essential role in how he behaves and handles grief, 'evil,' and death. This is a spoiler, but when the audience learns that Dave really *did* beat the pedophile in the parking lot, he screams, 'Get out of here, Dave!' to the other boy in the scene — showing he never really processed what happened to him. Tim Robbins portrays PTSD, trauma, memory issues, a highly suggestible mind, and anxiety really well."

    cocopa

    2. Prozac Nation (2001)

    Miramax Films

    "Both the book and the movie do such a great job of portraying the mind of a clinically depressed woman during her first year at Harvard. It’s definitely a movie that will pull at your heart strings and hit home if you’ve had depression."

    allyh495cbd328

    3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

    Summit Entertainment

    "Charlie perfectly encompasses what it’s like to have a never-ending sense of anxiety that always seems to find its way back to him, no matter how hard he tries to forget it. He also deals with suppressing emotions from the abuse he suffered as a young child, which encompasses untreated PTSD. I prefer the book over the movie, but both were done so well."

    marykatem4b081d146

    4. Midsommar (2019)

    A24

    "I know it’s a horror movie, but the way Dani struggled with panic and anxiety was so real and raw. Seeing her have a panic attack and only be able to cry and say 'no' over and over again was extremely relatable. The panic attack after taking mushrooms was also accurate, because she was trying so hard not to panic and was almost angry with herself for panicking."

    sammihirls

    5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

    Focus Features

    "It's a touching, relatable, and accurate picture of what mental rehabilitation can look like. There are no cheesy, perfect people, just real humans longing for real connections in this messed-up world."

    kelseyp41f3d6765

    6. Big Hero 6 (2014)

    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    "It showed depression and the grieving process as an actual illness that is needing care, just like a physical one. No one told Hiro to move on or made him feel wrong for being sad. His friends and family just supported and loved him the best they could. It was the first movie I have ever seen that showed depression and grief in a realistic way."

    c4242ff8c1

    7. Eighth Grade (2018)

    A24

    "For some, it's just another coming-of-age movie. But to me, it shows what social anxiety looks like. It's portrayed so well in some scenes that it made me feel like they'd read my mind."

    sharifi13m

    8. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

    The Weinstein Company

    "It really shows you how trauma can surge back up and how powerless you feel. And I think it was helpful to see a family come together to understand mental illness."

    catherinedugrs

    "It got a few things notably wrong, but I still refer people to the scene when Bradley Cooper is losing it over his missing wedding video when I’m trying to explain what a manic episode is like for me."

    sueammons

    9. Joker (2019)

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "The scene where we see Arthur’s journal/joke notebook and that he had written 'The worst part of having a mental illness is everyone expects you to act like you don’t' hit me HARD. I had to pause the movie and breathe for a minute because it captured such a raw and specific feeling of pressure and failure."

    meganc4340e2ca3

    10. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

    Columbia Pictures

    "There's no sugarcoating, no melodrama, and no happy ending (but no tragic ending either). It's a real portrait of very young women in a psychiatric hospital: Susanna, who has borderline personality disorder; Lisa, who has antisocial personality disorder; Georgina, who is a pathological liar; Daisy, who has bulimia and OCD; Janet, who has anorexia; and Polly, who has schizophrenia. There are so many great scenes from this movie."

    silverhera

    11. Tully (2018)

    Focus Features

    "Finally a movie about postpartum depression/psychosis! Charlize Theron was AMAZING in this movie! I watched this movie a month after having my daughter and the twist ending just was perfect. It was a great movie that described motherhood and mental health issues that happen to a lot of struggling moms."

    amandas48cd653fa

    12. Frozen (2013)

    Disney

    "It really made me feel seen regarding my trust issues and fear regarding friends and trust. Elsa claims she’s better off alone and pushes people away when they just want to help. I have PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) which means when I ovulate, I get extremely depressed, anxious, and irritable. I have pushed people away because not only does my trauma make it hard to trust people, but I also want to protect them from this alternate version of myself that comes out every month. When I watch Frozen and see Anna continuously try to reach out to and connect with Elsa, it makes me cry because I know exactly how my boyfriend felt when we started dating."

    quinnr432901aac

    13. Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

    Amazon Studios

    "The parts where Brittany struggled with her body and confidence were so relatable. I teared up a little bit at the end when I saw how happy she was to reach her goal."

    marylouise006

    14. Ted: Show Me Love (2018)

    Stella Nova Film

    "The Swedish film Ted about the singer Ted Gardestad, who had schizophrenia. It did a very good job of showing the man behind the condition, but also how poorly understood mental health was in the '70s and '80s. Ted's illness was largely dismissed as stage fright and an inability to cope with fame. I think there's still a perception that musicians produce their best work when they're not well."

    annak4f45e0f65

    15. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)

    New World Pictures

    "It’s an adaptation of a fictionalized autobiography about a teen with schizophrenia in inpatient treatment, and it really resonated with me."

    jamie918

    16. Iron Man 3 (2013)

    Marvel

    "Seeing Tony Stark (a literal superhero) struggle with anxiety attacks really made me realize that my anxiety doesn’t make me weak or vulnerable — it makes me human, and it can happen to anyone."

    skeletor31

    17. Inside Out (2015)

    Pixar

    "Even though it’s a kids movie, Inside Out is one of my favorite movies about mental health. The way they expressed the complexities of thought, emotion, memory, and growing up was pure genius."

    stillhere27

    "My therapist and I would talk about Inside Out when discussing parts therapy. All parts of you are essential, even if you don’t like all of them — they’re all vital in making you who you are."

    catherinedugrs

    18. To the Bone (2017)

    Netflix

    "I watched it alone in the dark and cried the whole time. I was amidst a relapse in my eating disorder recovery and it showed me how grueling the process can be, yet still completely worth it."

    tessam48e6e729c

    19. Welcome to Me (2014)

    Alchemy

    "It was the first time I saw a movie where the main character had Borderline Personality Disorder. They didn’t shy away from the ups and downs of life with BPD and Kristen Wiig’s performance in it was incredible."

    celested4a670ed1f

    20. Speak (2004)

    Showtime Networks Inc.

    "It covered the topic of sexual assault and its effects, and it really made me feel understood in terms of my own sexual trauma and coming to terms with my PTSD."

    haleyc46361b38e

    21. And finally, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

    Focus Features

    "I feel like it encapsulated so much of my mental health in my twenties, exacerbated by heartache and loss."

    nichosnow

    Are there any movies that people missed? Let me know in the comments!

    Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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