17 shows that positively discuss mental health

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Pop culture often has a problem when it comes to portraying mental health, including showing how different cultures and communities discuss it. Getting treatment for mental health in real-life can be a rather private event, but a support group helps the process. Granted, talking about your mental health and your symptoms can be difficult, especially if you need to explain your conditions to your parents, partner, friends, or kids.

While Rainbow (Bow) Johnson is typically a positive person who takes pleasure in embarrassing her kids, which is exactly why we love her, season 4 uses her character development to get candid about postpartum depression.

As she gives birth to DeVante, she becomes noticeably less cheery, more withdrawn from her self and others, and she’s portrayed as being emotionally drained. Giving birth is a strenuous task, but Black-ish uses Bow’s depiction of postpartum depression to show how unexpected and serious it can be.

Bow had four kids, but she only started to experience postpartum depression after she gave birth to DeVante, her fifth child. Beyond showing how every pregnancy is different, the series takes a stern tone when depicting Bow’s postpartum depression. Her conversation with her mother-in-law, Ruby, shows the obstacles that come with opening up about any serious mental health condition, but especially postpartum depression — because it happens unexpectantly about the already stressful event of giving birth.

That’s a disparity in how postpartum depression is treated and diagnosed in different races. Psychology Today reports that approximately 40 percent of Black women develop perinatal and anxiety disorder (postpartum depression, or PMAD) either during their pregnancy or the preceding year. That statistic is nearly twice the general demographic. Despite the fact that Black women have an increased chance of developing PMAD during or after their pregnancy, they’re less likely to seek health or get efficiently treated for their mental health.

The series doesn’t tackle the dangerous disparities Black women face in accessing proper healthcare treatment (both with physical and mental health), since that’s apart of a larger systemic problem that needs to be addressed. The series eventually focuses on giving power to Bow as she advocates for her mental health to her family and her doctors. However, it also shows how empower family can be, especially since Bow’s kids help her realize she needs help.