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9 Films About Mental Health To Watch On Netflix UK

Although far from perfect, these films may help viewers gain new perspective.

'Horse Girl' on Netflix UK
Katrina Marcinowski/Netflix
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Trigger warning: This piece contains mention of suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, paranoia, and drug use.

In recent years, mental health has steadily come to the forefront of discussion in news and politics. However, when it comes to art, the mind and all that’s associated with it has always served as a powerful source of inspiration for creators — be it artists, authors, musicians, writers, or filmmakers. And one platform that hosts a huge amount of high-quality TV shows, movies, and documentaries about mental health is Netflix UK. Never one to shy away from tricky topics, the streaming service has some stunning content surrounding subjects such as political unrest and social injustice, but the movies and documentaries about mental health on Netflix UK are among its finest.

When handled correctly, movies and documentaries about mental health can hit all kinds of chords with audiences, and share some powerful messages. They can help people to understand how others see the world or give new meaning to feelings the viewer may be grappling with.

Netflix UK's selection when it comes to this topic is vast. Type “mental health” into the search bar and a seemingly endless amount of content will come up. For this reason, we have gathered together a short edit of some of the best movies and documentaries about mental health on Netflix UK to get your started. Although these films are in no way perfect (with a number of them having criticism lobbied against them), we believe each has something important to say about a topic that we all could take time to learn more about.

1

Horse Girl

Starring Alison Brie, Horse Girl follows Sarah, a quiet, socially isolated woman with a fondness for arts and crafts, horses, and supernatural crime. In the film, Sarah’s increasingly lucid dreams trickle into her waking life and she begins to spiral. The film is described as a “complex, thoughtful approach” to mental illness, inspired in part by star and co-writer Alison Brie’s real-life family history with paranoid schizophrenia, and depression.

Speaking to Vulture, the actor shared: “In my own personal struggles with depression, I know the feeling of being helpless, feeling powerless, feeling alone.”

Watch Horse Girl on Netflix UK here.

2

Take Your Pills

Adderall is an American drug most commonly used to treat ADHD, but one that has become increasingly misused among students and people in highly stressful work environments.

This documentary looks at why, how, and who Adderall is being used by and the potential risks involved in it. As well as speaking about the positive side of the drug too.

Watch Take Your Pills on Netflix UK here.

3

Not Alone

Not Alone is a documentary that follows the tragic event of a teenager taking her own life. Made by the teenager's best friend, it sees young people who've suffered from mental health issues speak openly about how they felt at the time, including the isolation and sadness they experienced. All with the aim of letting others know that they are not alone.

Watch Not Alone on Netflix UK here.

4

It's Kind Of A Funny Story

In It's Kind Of A Funny Story, 16-year-old Craig Zilner decides that he needs to get some help. It seems that the stress of his studies have pushed him over the edge, and have even seen him contemplate suicide. After seeing a doctor, he is checked into a mental health care facility much to the shock of his parents. And much to his almost instant regret.

Things take a strange turn when he finds out that, owing to a complication, he has to stay on the adult ward. It's there that he meets friends that change his life forever. Including Zach Galifianakis, who plays Bobby.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness ranked this as one of the best films about mental health, stating that that hospital featured in the film "is not a scary place and the patients are not portrayed as 'mad' or 'insane' — it’s a safe place where people struggling are getting help, and using humour as a relief from the serious conditions that brought them there. This Hollywood approach to a psychiatric unit may be more comical than any real-life scenario, but it helps normalise the fact that sometimes people need this level of care."

Watch It’s Kind Of A Funny Story on Netflix UK here.

5

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

A documentary about the making of Man On The Moon, a film that saw Jim Carrey play famous comedian Andy Kaufman and go completely method in his approach. This decision affected Carey's mental health to an enormous degree and, in Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, we see the extent to which the character took over his mind during the film's production.

Watch Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond on Netflix UK here.

6

Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted is a film based on the memoir of Susanna Kaysen and the time she spent in a mental health facility. It tells the story of her mental health treatment and the people she meets along the way.

Speaking about the film for the Huffington Post, writer Stephanie Watson explained how important was to her as someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety since her teens. :Susanna Kaysen is a symbol of every young girl out there who has ever felt they have no clue of what is going on inside them, both in terms of just having a difficult time growing up, and in terms of mental illness coming out of nowhere and kicking you while you're down," she writes. "I related to her confusion, and her journey taught me that just because you have no idea what's going on in your mind, it doesn't mean you’re doomed.”

Watch Girl, Interrupted on Netflix UK here.

7

Minimalism

In an age where accumulating stuff is what many people strive for, it's important to step back and take stock of what you actually want to surround yourself with. In this documentary, Joshua Fields Millburn celebrates the fact that less is more and looks at the positive effect that a more minimalist approach can have on our mental health.

Watch Minimalism on Netflix UK here.

8

A Beautiful Mind

Starring Russell Crown, A Beautiful Mind is critically acclaimed for its depiction of Nobel-Prize-winning mathematician John Nash and his experience of schizophrenia. Released in 2001, the multi Oscar-winning film sees the genius mathematician on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

Watch A Beautiful Mind on Netflix UK here.

9

Good Will Hunting

Another critically acclaimed film, Good Will Hunting, which stars Robin Williams and Matt Damon, tells the story of a self-taught genius who, while working as a janitor in top American university MIT, finds himself in legal trouble. As a part of his case, he has to seek out professional therapeutic help. “This film unpacks themes of childhood development, the vulnerability in masculinity, and personal growth,” therapist Jonathan Hetterly wrote for Shrink Tank. Good Will Hunting portrays the benefits of therapy and the ways in which it can help those who take part in it.

Watch Good Will Hunting on Netflix UK here.

Contributions from Aoife Hanna & L’Oréal Blackett.

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this piece, contact Mind by phone (0300 123 3393), email (info@mind.org.uk), or text (86463).