Mental Health Disorders on Television: Representation Versus Reality
Kimberley McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver
In past decades portrayals of mental illness on television were limited to psychotic criminals or comical sidekicks. As public awareness of mental illness has increased so too have its depictions on the small screen. A gradual transition from stereotypes towards more nuanced representations has seen a wide range of lead characters with mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, autism spectrum disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, depression and PTSD. But what are these portrayals saying about mental health and how closely do they align with real-life experiences?
Drawing on interviews with people living with mental illness, this book traces these shifts, placing on-screen depictions in context and demonstrating their real world impacts.