Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're not all Psychos

Good stuff this morning from Time For Change, an organisation trying to improve public understanding of and attitudes to mental health problems. Peter Byrne, a leading psychiatrist and film expert, says that characters with mental health problems are being depicted as ‘more demotic and crueler than at any time in movie history’.

Cinema is very sensitive these days to charges of racism or homophobia but when it comes to dealing with 'nutters' it's still a free for all. Byrne's report says that this affects public attitudes to mental health and it's hard to disagree. Male mental health is poorly understood in the media, in the medical profession and among men themselves. Simplistic screen misrepresentations can't help. Cinema is supposed to be about innovation - it would be great to see some here.

Byrne's report is mainly about schizophrenia which is particularly badly represented and particularly widely misunderstood. But what about more common mental health problems? Anyone know of any movies that portray male depression accurately? Garden State, perhaps, or Sideways?

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