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16 Scenes From TV Shows That Actually Helped People With Their Mental Health

Featuring Big Mouth, BoJack Horseman, This Is Us, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community and Twitter for the TV shows that have handled issues surrounding mental health in their storylines well.

Please be aware that this topic also covers sensitive topics (it also contains spoilers).

1. Big Mouth – When Jessi (Jessi Klein) was taken under the wing of Depression Kitty (Jean Smart), who explained what the experience was like.

Many people told us about how this scene resonated with them.“At first she feels safe but after a while she starts to say the cat is heavy but she can’t lift her. That’s a really good representation of depression. At first it’s comforting all alone in your own world, but you quickly get trapped in it.”– florianeg“The way they portrayed it as anger and numbness as well as a large weight was so relatable. I wish I had seen it when I was 13, so I would have known it wasn’t just me.”– notaglassoflemonade“Anyone who has suffered from depression can relate to the description of "... laid on your side, facing away from the television listening to a Friends marathon?”– Jack, via email
Netflix

Many people told us about how this scene resonated with them.

“At first she feels safe but after a while she starts to say the cat is heavy but she can’t lift her. That’s a really good representation of depression. At first it’s comforting all alone in your own world, but you quickly get trapped in it.”

florianeg

“The way they portrayed it as anger and numbness as well as a large weight was so relatable. I wish I had seen it when I was 13, so I would have known it wasn’t just me.”

notaglassoflemonade

“Anyone who has suffered from depression can relate to the description of "... laid on your side, facing away from the television listening to a Friends marathon?”

– Jack, via email

2. One Day at a Time – When Penelope (Justina Machado) told Lydia (Rita Moreno) that she was going back on her anti-depressants and Lydia understood her.

“This show normalises taking antidepressants by showing the character, Penelope, that even though she may not ‘want’ to take them, they may be the only way for her to live her life. Portraying that antidepressants can help her live a better and more productive life really helped me feel less scared about going on them myself.” – samg4b6483ab9“Justina Machado is the only actor I’ve ever seen who’s accurately portrayed anxiety and depression.”– adrianaf4054adb3f
Netflix

“This show normalises taking antidepressants by showing the character, Penelope, that even though she may not ‘want’ to take them, they may be the only way for her to live her life. Portraying that antidepressants can help her live a better and more productive life really helped me feel less scared about going on them myself.”

samg4b6483ab9

“Justina Machado is the only actor I’ve ever seen who’s accurately portrayed anxiety and depression.”

adrianaf4054adb3f

3. This Is Us – When Toby (Chris Sullivan) had a breakdown and Kate (Chrissy Metz) tried to help.

“Currently, they’re showing Toby overcoming his depression. It shows that depression isn’t something cured overnight by medicine, a good day, or good news but it’s something that takes time. Most importantly, it portrays grown men dealing with emotions and struggles and dealing with mental health. It is something that is, for whatever reason, not talked about enough.”– hannahp42ca0dc13“The idea that something that we have to live with is too much for other people to bear is a repeating theme. Especially when people expect you to be funny all the time, they don't want to deal with your problems or help you through them, they just want you to be the very best version of you all the time. The stigma of having a mental illness is real and it affects how close we let people in and why we withdraw from others when our symptoms flair up.”– iwannaputonmysweatpants“I know his character has helped my family understand what I go through. Most of all highlighting that when things are hard pills and counselling don’t magically fix it: it takes time.”– Name not disclosed, via email
NBC

“Currently, they’re showing Toby overcoming his depression. It shows that depression isn’t something cured overnight by medicine, a good day, or good news but it’s something that takes time. Most importantly, it portrays grown men dealing with emotions and struggles and dealing with mental health. It is something that is, for whatever reason, not talked about enough.”

hannahp42ca0dc13

“The idea that something that we have to live with is too much for other people to bear is a repeating theme. Especially when people expect you to be funny all the time, they don't want to deal with your problems or help you through them, they just want you to be the very best version of you all the time. The stigma of having a mental illness is real and it affects how close we let people in and why we withdraw from others when our symptoms flair up.”

iwannaputonmysweatpants

“I know his character has helped my family understand what I go through. Most of all highlighting that when things are hard pills and counselling don’t magically fix it: it takes time.”

– Name not disclosed, via email

4. BoJack Horseman – When we were able to hear BoJack’s constant negative thoughts to himself.

“Season four, episode six was the most incredible demonstration of what you hear inside your head when you’re suffering from anxiety or depression. Such a good show for highlighting so many issues.”– Olivia, Twitter“It makes me feel seen. It makes me feel normal, because finally someone portrayed it right.”– sinfulcarrot“It forced me to confront feelings I had suppressed for years. I realised that my depression was a genuine issue that was affecting my life and my relationships and inspired me to go seek treatment.”– heythereitsfatma
Netflix

“Season four, episode six was the most incredible demonstration of what you hear inside your head when you’re suffering from anxiety or depression. Such a good show for highlighting so many issues.”

– Olivia, Twitter

“It makes me feel seen. It makes me feel normal, because finally someone portrayed it right.”

sinfulcarrot

“It forced me to confront feelings I had suppressed for years. I realised that my depression was a genuine issue that was affecting my life and my relationships and inspired me to go seek treatment.”

heythereitsfatma

5. You’re the Worst – When Gretchen (Aya Cash) told her boyfriend Jimmy (Chris Geere) that she has had clinical depression all of her life.

“The portrayal of Gretchen’s descent into depression and rebound out was something that hit incredibly close to home. Very accurate, never glamorised or overplayed. I’m sad this show is ending this year.”– jenns4ecc8e12c“Watching how she worked through her depression while still staying true to herself and her character was incredible to watch.”– ilanapon47“Honestly, I don't think I’ve ever related to a character more.”– jamiekerrigan
FXX

“The portrayal of Gretchen’s descent into depression and rebound out was something that hit incredibly close to home. Very accurate, never glamorised or overplayed. I’m sad this show is ending this year.”

jenns4ecc8e12c

“Watching how she worked through her depression while still staying true to herself and her character was incredible to watch.”

ilanapon47

“Honestly, I don't think I’ve ever related to a character more.”

jamiekerrigan

6. The West Wing – When Leo (John Spencer) reached out to Josh (Bradley Whitford) after an incident that resulted in him having post-traumatic stress disorder.

“They portrayed his PTSD without sensationalising it, without making him weak and without pretending it went away when the credits rolled.”– Tom, Facebook
NBC / Netflix

“They portrayed his PTSD without sensationalising it, without making him weak and without pretending it went away when the credits rolled.”

– Tom, Facebook

7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – When the show, which had already received praise for its handling of mental health issues, covered Rebecca’s borderline personality disorder diagnosis.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does an amazing job of portraying mental illness and the isolation you feel in going through it. They also perfectly capture the frustration that comes along with knowing something is wrong but not having a clear diagnosis.”– brie4ad083296“When she finally gets diagnosed, I cried during those episodes because I related so much. I had been misdiagnosed with BPD and when she was trying to Google it and only found that people demonised people with it, that was my experience as well.”– brookelulehuas
The CW / Netflix

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does an amazing job of portraying mental illness and the isolation you feel in going through it. They also perfectly capture the frustration that comes along with knowing something is wrong but not having a clear diagnosis.”

brie4ad083296

“When she finally gets diagnosed, I cried during those episodes because I related so much. I had been misdiagnosed with BPD and when she was trying to Google it and only found that people demonised people with it, that was my experience as well.”

brookelulehuas

8. Bodyguard – When after a series of intense and stressful situations, the praised hero David Budd (Richard Madden) was still advised to seek therapy and accepted.

“The most powerful moment is the scene where he asks for help in the final episode. Very difficult for anyone to take, especially more so for men. A message to all that it's okay to get help and it's okay not to be okay.”– g4d5bdde20
BBC / World Productions

“The most powerful moment is the scene where he asks for help in the final episode. Very difficult for anyone to take, especially more so for men. A message to all that it's okay to get help and it's okay not to be okay.”

g4d5bdde20

9. Skam – When Isak’s (Tarjei Sandvik Moe) friends found out about Even (Henrik Holm) having bipolar disorder and went out of their way to accept and help him.

“The way other characters discover and then adapt to Even’s bipolar is so moving and is a realistic portrayal which humanises sufferers of mental illness, which many shows don’t get right.”– freyar48f58cc99
NRK

“The way other characters discover and then adapt to Even’s bipolar is so moving and is a realistic portrayal which humanises sufferers of mental illness, which many shows don’t get right.”

freyar48f58cc99

10. Maniac – When Owen (Jonah Hill) was diagnosed with schizophrenia and how the storyline then developed.

“Owen’s paranoid schizophrenia is never romanticised and several scenes show in a raw and honest way the stigma around this particular mental illness. “My mother has been suffering from it for several years and it really helped me seeing an honest representation of it in a TV series.”– btoscano95“It finally felt like someone was listening.”– hogfe001
Netflix

“Owen’s paranoid schizophrenia is never romanticised and several scenes show in a raw and honest way the stigma around this particular mental illness.

“My mother has been suffering from it for several years and it really helped me seeing an honest representation of it in a TV series.”

btoscano95

“It finally felt like someone was listening.”

hogfe001

11. Hollyoaks – When Scott (Ross Adams), who had been considered only to be upbeat and extroverted by all the other characters, opened up about how he was really feeling.

“I think Hollyoaks has tackled this well over the years, but the one storyline that springs to mind recently was the Scott storyline which didn’t filter feelings and male mental health. It showed that even the happiest person on the outside could be struggling inside, keeping it hidden.”– Charline, Twitter
Hollyoaks / E4 / Via youtube.com

“I think Hollyoaks has tackled this well over the years, but the one storyline that springs to mind recently was the Scott storyline which didn’t filter feelings and male mental health. It showed that even the happiest person on the outside could be struggling inside, keeping it hidden.”

– Charline, Twitter

12. Lady Dynamite – How the autobiographical show, starring Maria Bamford, weaved in many mental health issues and addressed their stigmas.

“It definitely puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional while feeling incredibly honest. “Some people don’t care for the reverse storytelling style but I think part of that is to put the viewer in her own chaotic mind. I absolutely love her husband character for always being understanding and willing to do the work with her as a teammate.”– Lorena, Facebook
Netflix

“It definitely puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional while feeling incredibly honest.

“Some people don’t care for the reverse storytelling style but I think part of that is to put the viewer in her own chaotic mind. I absolutely love her husband character for always being understanding and willing to do the work with her as a teammate.”

– Lorena, Facebook

13. Please Like Me – When the storyline focused on Josh (Josh Thomas) and his mother Rose’s (Debra Lawrance) relationship when she went to receive treatment.

“Please Like Me never uses mental illness just for a punch line but still manages to be devastating, hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.”– marke4213367af“What I like most is the accurate characterisation of the main character’s mother. She suffers from bipolar disorder so she goes from mania to depressed episodes. They never overdramatise these changes, it can be quite subtle.”– olgan4800382c8“It’s so underrated — but a great comedy which deals with mental health extremely well.”– Josh, Twitter
ABC / Pivot

Please Like Me never uses mental illness just for a punch line but still manages to be devastating, hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure.”

marke4213367af

“What I like most is the accurate characterisation of the main character’s mother. She suffers from bipolar disorder so she goes from mania to depressed episodes. They never overdramatise these changes, it can be quite subtle.”

olgan4800382c8

“It’s so underrated — but a great comedy which deals with mental health extremely well.”

– Josh, Twitter

14. My Mad Fat Diary – How the drama starring Rae (Sharon Rooney) avoided the clichés surrounding mental health.

“My Mad Fat Diary. Hands down.”– Natalia, Twitter
Channel 4 / E4

My Mad Fat Diary. Hands down.”

– Natalia, Twitter

15. EastEnders – When Jean Slater (Gillian Wright), who has bipolar disorder, tried to encourage her daughter Stacey (Lacey Turner) to receive help when she was also diagnosed.

Mental health charity Mind praised this storyline at the time, saying: “What’s refreshing about Jean is that she has become a 3D character; she has plenty of traits to her personality that have nothing to do with her mental health problem.”“The depiction of Jean Slater’s bipolar disorder on EastEnders has been consistently real for the last decade.”– Lucy, Twitter
BBC

Mental health charity Mind praised this storyline at the time, saying: “What’s refreshing about Jean is that she has become a 3D character; she has plenty of traits to her personality that have nothing to do with her mental health problem.”

“The depiction of Jean Slater’s bipolar disorder on EastEnders has been consistently real for the last decade.”

– Lucy, Twitter

16. And finally, Doctor Who – When The Doctor (Matt Smith) pointed out to Amy (Karen Gillan) that the bad things in life don’t necessarily take away the good things.

“I especially love The Doctor’s speech. Even if you don’t like the show, I would still recommend ‘Vincent and The Doctor.’”– annasykes
BBC / Doctor Who

“I especially love The Doctor’s speech. Even if you don’t like the show, I would still recommend ‘Vincent and The Doctor.’”

annasykes

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If you need information and practical advice on depression, you can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am–4pm), if you’re in the UK.

The Depression Alliance, a charity for sufferers of depression, has a network of self-help groups.

You can call the Samaritans for confidential support if you’re experiencing feelings of distress or despair on 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline). There's also great resources at Mind in regards to mental health.

And you can call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day if you’re based in the US.