As with other pathologies, mental illnesses are represented in the cinema, we review 5 films on this subject. The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines mental disorders as those characterised by altered thinking, perception of emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. They constitute a truly large group of pathologies. They range from a mere low mood to psychosis.
Mental Illness and the Impact on the Population
The prevalence of mental disorders continues to increase, negatively influencing the health of the population. It obviously also has an impact on the socio-economic level. In other words: we are facing a serious problem, which generates suffering and affects a large part of the population
Thus, in 2013, the World Health Assembly approved the WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, which recognises that mental health is an essential element for the well-being of all people.
In the Antequirófano we propose 5 films with which we try to bring us a little closer to the knowledge of some of these mental illnesses that, as we have already mentioned, have a great impact on the population. The purpose? To try to reduce the stigmatisation and discrimination that these disorders still sometimes entail.
“Mental illnesses” 5 films that bring us closer to these disorders
As Good as It Gets (1997)
In this film, the main character suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is a type of anxiety disorder in which patients have repeated, distressing thoughts called obsessions. Obsessions are intrusive ideas (the patient is unable to get them out of their head). To control these obsessions, patients perform behaviours or rituals called compulsions.
Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a famous writer with OCD who treats the rest of society with utter contempt. The only person who seems to put up with him is Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt) a waitress at the restaurant where Melvin eats lunch every day. Carol is a single mother whose son suffers from chronic asthma and does not receive adequate medical care due to lack of financial resources. One day one of Melvin’s neighbours, Simon Bishop (Greg Kinnear) suffers a terrible accident and the protagonist is forced to take care of his little dog who quickly wins the affection of the obsessive writer.
The film, directed by James L. Brooks, won two Oscars, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress (Helen Hunt)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Schizophrenia, like other psychoses, is a severe mental disorder that is often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions. These disturbances negatively affect patients who, on most occasions, are unable to carry out their daily activities normally.
The film follows the life of John Forbes Nash (Russell Crowe), winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. The film shows how the protagonist begins to develop the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and how these and his treatment begin to affect his life and the lives of those around him
Directed by Ron Howard and based on the novel of the same name by Sylvia Nasar, the film won four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
This story is about bipolar affective disorder, which affects around 60 million people worldwide. Patients often alternate between manic and depressive episodes interspersed with periods of normal mood. In addition to medication, psychosocial support is an essential element of treatment.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a psychiatric hospital after eight months in hospital for assaulting his wife’s lover. Determined to win her back, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who decides to help him if he agrees to take part in a dance contest with her.
Directed by David O. Russell, the film won the Oscar for Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide. It causes sadness, loss of enjoyment, fatigue and sleep and/or appetite disorders, among other symptoms. It causes enormous suffering for patients who find themselves unable to cope with their daily activities. It is important to understand that in its most severe form it can lead to suicide. The importance of prevention and sources of support, such as family and friends, must be emphasised.
In a road movie format, the film follows the adventures of a family as they travel to a beauty pageant for which the youngest daughter, whose dream is to become a Miss, has qualified.
The film received rave reviews and features an exceptional cast including Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano and Alan Arkin, among others
Winner of two Oscars, for Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin) and Best Original Screenplay (Michael Arndt), Little Miss Sunshine is a delightfully funny film about family relationships and how they can help us get through the bad times. 100% recommended.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
According to WHO data, 260 million people were diagnosed with anxiety in the world in 2017. Anxiety causes great suffering for those who suffer from it. When it becomes chronic, it can have very negative consequences for both physical and psychological health. In fact, one of the main consequences of untreated anxiety is depression. This pathology can also lead to OCD or the development of phobias. In short, anxiety can pose a serious risk to our social, work and family life.
On this occasion, a classic film released in 1951 sneaks in. The film was directed by Elia Kazan, scripted by Tennessee Williams and starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. The film won four Oscars: Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter) and Best Production Design (Richard Day and George Hopkins)
Blanche (Vivien Leigh) is a mature, decadent woman who hides a lurid past that has led her to mental imbalance. When she is forced to live with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter) and her violent brother-in-law Stanley (Marlon Brando), her unstable behaviour leads to conflict.
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