17 shows that positively discuss mental health

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — “I’m Not The Person I Used To Be” — Rachel Bloom as Rebecca. Photo: Robert Voets/The CW

Looking for a show that depicts mental health accurately and insightfully? These should be on your must-watch list.

Content Warning: Because this slideshow analyzes mental health depiction in television, there is some mention to rape, trauma, alcohol, and suicide.
In case you would like or need to avoid any of these topics: the Shameless slide references alcohol, addition, and alcoholism; Nurse Jackie similarly discusses addiction; Crazy Ex-Girlfriend references and briefly discusses the on-screen depiction of attempted suicide; and Jessica Jones references the titular character’s trauma (rape).

The conversation around mental health can be messy, but it’s necessary because mental health is still stigmatized. With the perpetually growing topics in the mental health sphere, we’ll never be able to talk about it enough. While there are plenty of television shows that have used mental health as a plot device or indirectly villainized specific conditions, we created a list of shows that positively discuss mental health.

Sure, entire series and episodes that focus on mental health can never replace therapy, necessary medication, or support groups. Still, we can’t deny that seeing our favorite characters openly discuss their mental health conditions without being judged by their fictional friends or family can be therapeutic.

In ways that we cathartically cry about our favorite character’s demise, we obviously resonate with them for a reason (or many reasons). Thankfully, more shows are extending mental health discussions on their programming in ways that destigmatize multiple conditions and implicitly invisible disabilities.

Seeing mental health discussion normalized on scripted programs can help us talk about our own emotional and psychological wellbeing. Whereas shows like 13 Reason Why can have a regressive and potentially harmful approach to mental health, these television shows have a positive approach to the diverse world of mental health.

Obviously, they don’t get everything right because it’s difficult to condense various mental health topics and subsequent angles into one episode, but it’s a start — and we’re hopeful television as a whole will continue to improve how it portrays mental health.