Is Netflix good for mental health

The 25+ best films and series on mental disorders

Fight Club, Batman, Monk - Depression, mania and personality disorders actually play the leading roles in many mainstream films. And help to provide a clear example of what a mental illness can look like.

Depression & mania

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

A film about a manic-depressive person who has just been discharged from the clinic and is well worth seeing. Then he runs into the emotionally unstable Tiffany, who has just lost her husband and job.

Wikipedia - Amazon - IMDB Score: 8.1 / 10

Spinning Out (2020) | Netflix

An Olympic figure skater with bipolar disorder is pursuing her dream of winning. In doing so, she has to get her mental illness, family and love life under one roof.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score 7.7 / 10

Crazy (1999) | Netflix

with Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder

The film is based on the autobiography of the writer Susanna Kaysen. In the 1960s, 18-year-old Susanna ended up in a psychiatric clinic after attempting suicide. Angelina Jolie received an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in the film in 2000.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 7.3 / 10

Dead girls don't lie | Netflix

Two weeks after his classmate's suicide, high school student Clay receives 7 audio cassettes. She then gives him 13 reasons for her suicide and the names of those she blames. Clay is one of them.

The series with the original title “13 Reasons Why” started a big discussion. While the press reacted quite positively, doctors and health organizations around the world criticized that the series could exacerbate mental health problems. Studies by the University of Vienna and an article in the “Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” report that the number of suicides had increased during the period of broadcast. It is not clear whether the series caused the increase.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 7.8 / 10

After Life | Netflix

with Ricky Gervais

Local journalist Tony is hard hit by the death of his wife, who is suffering from cancer. The lovable and nice contemporary becomes an impulsive, gruff curmudgeon. While those around him do everything to make him a better person again, he punishes the world by only doing what suits him. An evil, weird, lovable series about death and depression.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB

Eating Disorders, Anorexia & Bulimia

To The Bone | Netflix

with Keanu Reeves

20-year-old Ellen is anorexic and spent most of her teenage years trying therapy. The whole family suffers from the difficult circumstances. A therapy in a small residential group, led by the unconventionally working Dr. Beckham.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 6.8 / 10

autism

Atypical | Netflix

The 18-year-old autistic Sam does not only struggle with his everyday life, school and his siblings - now he also wants to find a girlfriend. His colleague Zahid is not of great help to him.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 8.3 / 10

Rain Man

with Dustin Hoffman

It is only after his father's death that car dealer Charlie learns that he has an autistic brother. Because he wants to get his legacy, he takes him on a journey. With his autism, his refusal to fly and his addiction to TV quiz shows, he first pushes the hot-headed car salesman to the limits of his patience and finally a little way out of his selfish world.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8/10

schizophrenia

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

with Russell Crowe

Based on the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash: At university, the math genius is an outsider. His roommate is just a delusion caused by his schizophrenia. After a psychosis and a breakdown, he is admitted to the closed psychiatric ward. Later in the 1990s he made a comeback, largely recovered, and received an Alfred Nobel Prize. The film itself also wins Oscars and Golden Globes.

Wikipedia - YouTube - IMDB Score: 8.2 / 10

The White Noise (2001)

with Daniel Brühl

After a drug trip, 21-year-old Lukas suddenly hears voices, the doctors diagnose paranoid schizophrenia. He listens to cavities, sanitary facilities. Sitting in the shower for hours, taking antidepressants, relapsing.

Daniel Brühl received the German Film Award for Best Actor for his acting performance.

Wikipedia - Amazon - IMDB Score: 7.1 / 10

Taxi Driver (1976)

with Robert De Niro

The brutality and inhumanity of the Vietnam War made Travis a loner. He spends his free time in porn cinemas and in a relationship with a 14-year-old prostitute.

The award-winning film made Robert De Niro world stars for his portrayal of the schizotypical taxi driver and also the then 13-year-old Jodie Foster.

Wikipedia - YouTube - IMDB Score: 8.3 / 10

Suicide & suicide

Veronika decides to die

with Sarah Michelle Gellar

After attempting suicide, 27-year-old Veronika finds herself in a psychiatric clinic. The psychiatrist Dr. Blake uses a (very questionable) therapeutic trick and tells her that she only has a few weeks to live because of a heart failure. Knowing that she will soon die, she slowly makes friends with her life again and flees the clinic with her new friend Edward.

The film is more of a parable about life than sticking to real life. The psychiatrist's therapeutic approach at best meets Hollywood's requirements. The commercial success of the film and especially the book justify its inclusion on this list

Wikipedia - YouTube - IMDB Score: 6.4 / 10

Dependence, addiction, drugs and alcohol

Trainspotting (1995)

with Ewan Mc Gregor

The everyday life of the Herion junkie Mark is all about how he can get the next shot. When he has the chance of a big heroin deal with his drug addict friends, he goes along with it. However, he wants to prevent the subsequent distribution of the booty.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.1 / 10

Dr. House

Professionally a genius, in social interaction and everyday life an imposition. The head of diagnostic medicine Dr. Gregory House has long since become addicted to pain medication for a blood clot in his leg. While his patients almost always get well by the end of the episode, the doctor himself continues to suffer from a chronic pain disorder, opioid addiction, and depressive symptoms

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.7 / 10

Rick and Morty | Netflix

A crazy, alcoholic scientist with depressive symptoms travels between parallel worlds, cosmos and extraterrestrial worlds. His 14-year-old grandson Morty was there too, mostly reluctantly. Happy endings are rare, and there is practically no reference to reality. Perhaps that is precisely why it has a top ranking in the Internet Movie Database.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 9.2 / 10

Phobias & Panic Disorders

A Matter of Nerves (1999)

with Robert De Niro

The New York mafia boss Paul Vitti is suddenly plagued by panic attacks, breathing difficulties and potency problems. Of course, that doesn't suit his image - that's why he seeks help from the psychiatrist Dr. Sobel.

Wikipedia - YouTube - IMDB Score: 6.7 / 10

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Batman: The Dark Knight | Netflix

with Christian Bale & Heath Ledge

Bruce Wayne - who hunts criminals at night as the savior of Gotham City, has suffered from insomnia, increased excitability and alertness since the murder of his parents. He experiences the traumatic experience in nightmares and shows symptoms of depression.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 9/10

multiple personality disorder

Fight Club (1999)

with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton

A sleepless office worker and a dubious soap maker set up an underground fight club. It turns out: the two are actually the same person.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.8 / 10

Compulsive Personality Disorder

monk

After his wife is killed in an attack, the numerous phobias and compulsions of the policeman Adrian Monk intensify. He is released from service and does not leave his home for 3 years. With the help of a personal assistant and psychotherapy, he manages to help the local police in difficult cases as an advisor. Because of his psychological symptoms, he has a flair for things that are unusual.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 7.9 / 10

Dexter

Dexter Morgan is a homicide forensic blood trail specialist - and a likable serial killer himself. During the day a shy laboratory nerd with a girlfriend and 2 children, at night he kills those criminals who, in his opinion, have been unjustly spared by the judiciary.

He cannot resist the compulsion to kill himself for long, and his killing ritual has to be repeated over and over again: covering the room with plastic sheeting, confronting the victim with their own sins and collecting a drop of blood from each victim.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.6 / 10

narcissism

Wall street (1987)

with Charlie Sheen & Michael Douglas

Bud is a young stockbroker looking to make big money fast. The narcissistic and unscrupulous speculator Gordon seems to be able to help him.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 7.4 / 10

You: You will love me | Netflix

The actually brilliant but narcissistic New York bookseller Joe wants to win Beck's heart. In order to achieve his goal, he does not shy away from bullying, stalking and attempted murder. The series shows how in the modern world one is exposed to unprotected manipulation and stalking.

Wikipedia - Netflix - IMDB Score: 7.8 / 10

Antisocial Personality Disorder / Psychopathy

Hannibal

In everyday life, Dr. Hannibal Lecter as a prominent and successful psychiatrist. But he leads a double life as a serial killer, which becomes all the more complicated when he is hired for the FBI himself.

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.5 / 10

About psychologists and psychotherapy

In Treatment - The Therapist

Ever wondered what psychotherapy looks like on the part of the therapist? What do they think of their patients and quarrel with themselves and with the world? The series takes place in the practice of the therapist Paul Weston. He treats married couples fighting, women at risk of suicide and traumatized ex-soldiers. But he also seeks help from a therapist himself, has problems with his marriage, is sued and meets his first great love again (available in German on Amazon Prime).

Wikipedia - Amazon Prime - IMDB Score: 8.3 / 10

In therapy

Dr. Philippe Dayan runs a practice in Paris, 200 meters from where the November 13, 2015 terrorist attack hit France. As a psychoanalyst, he deals with the consequences - a traumatized elite policeman, an overwhelmed young surgeon - and tries to cope with his midlife crisis himself. All episodes are free on Arte.tvin German language retrievable.

ARTE Mediathek - IMDB Score: 8.2 / 10

Relaxation methods and mindfulness

Headspace: A Meditation Guide | Netflix

Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson or meditation are psychologically proven remedies against stress and psychosomatic complaints. Headspace explains the benefits of meditation techniques in 8 episodes.

Netflix - IMDB Score: 8.7 / 10

Computer game addiction

In 2018, the WHO officially recognized computer game addiction as a mental illness. But what is the difference between normal gambling and actual addiction? What are the symptoms and causes - and how is such a gaming disorder treated? I explain all of this on my YouTube channel.

More links

40+ classic films for those interested in psychiatry: Dirk Schippel is a naturopath, lecturer, YouTuber and owner of the HPA Heilpraktiker Akademie. On his website there is a list of 41 films with at least one psychologically problematic role. Most of the classics in film history - neatly sorted by ICD-10 diagnosis.

80+ film and series characters on the psychoanalysis couch: The graduate psychologist Niklar Gebele is a film and series fan. In his blog “Character Neuroses” he puts film characters like Anakin Skywalker, Batman, Spock, Walter from Breaking Bad and Bart Simpsons on the couch and meticulously taps them for mental disorders, their symptoms and possible causes. The remarkable collection can be found, among other things, in an article in the journal “Psychologe Heute” (June 2020 edition).

Warning: Film scenes can be a reminder of your own traumatizing experiences. Affected people may be triggered as a result, these psychological triggers can then cause strong feelings of fear and panic or self-harming behavior. If the title or the description of the film or series suggests such difficult content for you, I advise you to refrain from it.