- Dramatic Content Can Convey Complexities
- Dramatic content can offer opportunities to represent the complexities of mental health.
- Avoid Romanticizing Mental Health Struggles
- Be cautious of narratives that romanticize mental health challenges and present characters who struggle as mysterious, attractive, or complex in an appealing way.
- Avoid Oversimplifying Contributing Factors
- Avoid oversimplifying the factors that contribute to mental health challenges, such as a breakup leading to a suicide attempt.
Be Cautious of Romanticizing Mental Health Struggles, Suicide, or Substance Misuse
- Sometimes in dramatic content, characters who struggle with their mental health, overdose, or die by suicide seem attractive, mysterious, or complex in an appealing way.
- These storylines can amplify the harmful narrative that someone has to be “broken,” struggling, or unpredictable in order to be perceived as interesting or stand out.
- Consider whether your portrayal might romanticize mental health challenges and subsequently lead viewers to be less proactive about managing their own mental health.
Avoid Oversimplifying Causation
- Dramatic content sometimes shows how a major life event like a breakup or the loss of a family member can lead a character to unravel.
- While these types of events can certainly contribute to emotional challenges, it’s important not to oversimplify the factors that influence mental health. In reality, someone’s emotional state is a result of the challenges they’re facing at any given moment in addition to biology, life experiences, cultural perspectives, coping skills, and/or their support network.
- Identify opportunities to depict the complexities of how life events impact mental health, and how these challenging moments can make us stronger and more resilient.