17 shows that positively discuss mental health

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United States of Tara

Unfortunately, United States of Tara has long been discontinued. However, it was a critical step to portraying a more accurate depiction of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Split somehow villainized DID, and it also added a weird trope of conflating superpowers or supernatural abilities to mental health conditions to create a bizarre interpretation of DID.

United States of Tara depicts Tara’s DID and her alters in a supportive and understanding family lifestyle. Her husband, Max, unconditionally promotes Tara’s personal, professional, and academic endeavors. He helps her fill gaps in her memory from when one of her alters takes over as she dissociates.

The series illustrates how Tara interacts with her alters using a subconscious system and how her alters are coping mechanisms that help protect her from any familiar trauma or stress. Each alter serves a specific function and portrays a fragment part of her personality. Beyond describing each alter, United States of Tara shows that Tara has a normal life despite her self-protecting psyche.

Tara’s a painter, a mother, and she even starts to attend university again. As the narrative expands, the series shows the underlying cause of DID: trauma (typically childhood trauma). While Tara regresses in her treatment, it’s depicted as common because nearly everyone can have a setback or several while treating their mental health condition. With her family’s help, Tara does try to relearn her repressed memories and confront her childhood abuse.

While some of the alters are exaggerated, United States of Tara puts a realistic perspective on DID without demonizing people with the condition.