17 shows that positively discuss mental health

14 of 18


While Maniac uses Owen’s schizophrenic symptoms as intermittent special effects, the mini-series allows viewers to see how Owen perceives his conditions as well as his process to decipher between reality and his symptoms.

It may be subtle given the apparent dystopian setting in the show. Nevertheless, when Owen was terminated from his position, the series plays on the employment struggles of people with invisible disabilities and psychological disabilities in virtually any professional industry. Though not everyone considers their mental health condition a disability, searching for and keeping jobs when you have a disability comes with a lot of intrinsically discriminatory obstacles in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the National Organization on Disability (NOD).

This part of the plot could be a subtle commentary on working with mental health conditions, or it could just be that: a part of the plot. Regardless, the mini-series ends on a positive tone with some uplifting messages on life with schizophrenia.

After Owen was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia, we anticipated that Annie wouldn’t want to be his friend because of the stigmas about his condition. Instead of using Owen’s narrative to show him seeking Annie’s friendship and support, the show refocuses to Annie, who accepts him. This implicitly takes some of the pressure and anxiety of Owen, but it more so normalized schizophrenia because mental health conditions wouldn’t omit someone from any kind of relationship.