Drama - Mental Health

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  1. Dramatic Content Can Convey Complexities
    1. Dramatic content can offer opportunities to represent the complexities of mental health.
  2. Avoid Romanticizing Mental Health Struggles
    1. Be cautious of narratives that romanticize mental health challenges and present characters who struggle as mysterious, attractive, or complex in an appealing way. 
  3. Avoid Oversimplifying Contributing Factors
    1. 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. 

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more in part 6