17 Must-Watch Mental Health Documentaries 

mental health documentaries

There is something inherently fascinating about witnessing actual people discuss genuine topics. Because they provide a human face to global concerns that could otherwise appear abstract or unrelated, documentaries are captivating.

Watching documentaries is one of the best ways to increase your education and understanding of the world we live in. They are also a simple approach to acquiring new knowledge when you are not in the mood to read a book. Documentaries may engage us on various topics, and mental health is one of them.

In recent years, as more voices have entered the discourse around mental health and explored how it affects their and others’ lives, many vital issues have come to light.

We may overcome stigma by becoming more aware of what we are going through and embracing the uncertainty with inquiry and empathy. Fortunately, several mental health documentaries focus on various mental health issues. These documentaries also discuss how these illnesses could affect relationships and close ones. 

Let us start with popular documentaries that illustrate some of the most critical modern-day mental health issues.

The Wounds We Cannot See

It is a brutally honest, genuine story of one woman’s struggle with mental problems and quest for healing. This documentary is all about former U.S. Navy Airman Nancy Ross. The protagonist of this story has battled addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted forcefully and subjected to a terrible attack while serving in 1988. Despite receiving considerable counseling, Nancy continues to live in perpetual fear of the future.

This documentary might be upsetting to watch at times and distressing to individuals who have experienced similar things. However, it provides a wealth of information on how challenging the healing process may be and can assist viewers in understanding how to interact with those who are experiencing similar problems close to them.

You can watch it on Amazone prime (1)

The Anonymous People

The Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other substance addiction are the premise of the feature documentary film The Anonymous People.

This intriguing and thought-provoking documentary dispels the notion that addicts are hobos who live beneath bridges. It delves deeply into the current addiction issue, which is actually a mental health catastrophe.

The story of The Anonymous People is presented through the voices and faces of activists, employees, business leaders, and celebrities who risk everything to protect the livelihoods of people like them.

It shows us that the taboo around addiction must be eliminated before the world can effectively address it.

Available on Amazon prime (2)

Take Your Pills 

The American documentary Take Your Pills addresses the advantages and disadvantages of psychostimulant medicines, particularly Adderall serving as the primary subject. Adderall and other prescription stimulants are the defining substances of this age in the current environment, where competition is constant from the classroom to the workplace, and everyone wants an advantage in efficiency.

This documentary explores the positives, drawbacks, and risks of prescribed stimulants in modern society. It covers the story of prescription stimulants, which have empirically validated drug abuse.

One of the most effective therapies for mental health concerns is medication; however, each one has a unique set of adverse effects that should be taken into account before using them. This documentary aims to educate the general public about the potential impact of prescription medications.

Netflix has it for you (3)

Heal

This mental health documentary might become your favorite if you are interested in both mental health and spirituality.

We discover on this intellectual and spiritual journey that these factors significantly influence our thoughts, feelings, and capacities for healing. The simple idea of the story is that we have more control than we have been taught over our lives and wellbeing.

Heal uses the innovative ideas of top academics and spiritual figures in addition to following three people on actual, risky recovery journeys. We discover what works and why certain things don’t work through these compelling and uplifting narratives.

Watch it on Amazon prime (4)

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Boy Interrupted

The 2009 documentary Boy Interrupted was produced by Perry Films. The movie is based on the real-life story of Evan Perry, who was diagnosed with bipolar illness as an adolescent and killed himself in 2005 at the age of 15. A history of mental illnesses ran in the family.

Evan Perry’s mother, Dana, decided to produce a documentary about her son’s battle with bipolar disease and the effects of his death on the family after he died by himself at the age of 15. The documentary delves deeply into the intricacies of Evan’s illness and his personal narrative, which is undoubtedly as heartbreaking as it sounds. 

Watch it on Amazon prime (5)

Anxiety and Me

This documentary highlights the struggle of Nadia Hussain with her anxiety. Nadiya Hussain typically all grins when we see her on screen, but when the lights and cameras are not shooting, she experiences high functioning anxiety. 

In this unvarnished documentary, she vividly describes what it is like to silently battle panic attacks and details her attempts to identify the cause by seeking therapy. In this one-off documentary, Nadiya Hussain investigates the most effective, readily accessible remedies as she searches for the origin of her anxiety.

This documentary is an amazing resource for anyone who experiences panic attacks and is willing to discover how to stop an anxiety attack.

Have a watch on Youtube (6)

The Mind, Explained

The Mind, Explained is a documentary-style streaming television show that explores themes like what goes on inside people’s heads when they dream or take psychedelic substances.

This documentary series investigates the intricacy of our minds, as the title indicates. It covers various subjects, including psychedelics, cognition, hallucinations, stress, inventiveness, mindfulness, and hypnosis.

Although it lacks the complexity of other documentaries, this series is entertaining and offers clear yet insightful explanations. So, if you are looking for something concise and interesting that explores anything from dreaming to anxiety disorders, go no further. That is it.

Watch it on Netflix (7)

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Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home

The documentary Lost Angels paint a pleasant, humane, yet tragic picture of Skid Row. Extreme homelessness may be found on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Because of their homelessness and lack of stability in their lives, many people who end up living there suffer from severe mental health conditions and battle addiction. This documentary examines the lives of eight amazing people who have managed to carve out a living among the homeless in a courageous yet fulfilling manner.

This very compassionate documentary inspires viewers with its non-exploitation attention to those who have managed to support themselves while homeless. It was produced by Mark Laita, a photojournalist in Los Angeles who conducted several interviews with Skid Row residents. His interviews are as unvarnished as they reasonably could be.

Watch it on Amazon prime (8)

Medicating Normal

It is no surprise that psychiatric drugs can help treat problems including anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. The fact that these drugs might cause significant harm is something that most people are unaware of. The documentary Medicating Normal investigates the unseen tale of what transpires when profit-driven medicine clashes with people’s sufferings. 

The use of psychiatric medications in the mainstream mental health care system to manage trauma, depression, and depression is examined in this documentary. It tells the story of five individuals harmed by prescription drugs they thought would assist them. Interviews with these people, psychiatrists, and medical professionals illustrate the treatment model used by the present mental health profession and the catastrophes it caused.

It tells one significant, largely unheard story to help us as a society start a fruitful, educated national conversation about what it takes to be mentally healthy.

Also available on Amazon prime (9)

Simply Complicated

The pop diva has made a point of talking openly about her substance misuse and mental health issues. In this documentary, Lovato goes even further by sharing hidden stories and doing exclusive encounters with her family in which she talks about her nearly deadly overdose and bipolar illness.

Demi Lovato reveals her battles with recognition, self-esteem, substance abuse, and mental health. Even though she is a celebrity, many of the challenges she talks about facing are relatable to a commoner.

The main takeaway from this documentary is that mental health problems may affect anyone, no matter where they belong in society. Even if you have a large following and are a celebrity, it is common to suffer with your mental health.

Watch it on Youtube (10)

Of Two Minds

This documentary explores the challenges faced by numerous bipolar illness sufferers. It is particularly helpful since it gives a real picture of a widespread yet puzzling mental disorder. Personal experiences help viewers better comprehend the condition and what they learn about it in books by shedding more light on it.

The documentary demonstrates how bipolar disorder impacts people with sentiments ranging from exaggeration and pleasure to agony and depression through several interviews. Additionally, it highlights the disorder’s contagious effects on others by revealing how they see many parts of life-based on their intense emotions and by providing a close-up look at their friends and family’s lives.

Watch it on Amazon prime (11)

Depression: Out Of The Shadows

One of the most prevalent mental diseases, depression, may affect anybody. This documentary illustrates its impact and the difficulties it brings to various individuals. You may witness depression in this instructional documentary from the perspectives of a violent gang member, a young mother, a teenager, a competent CEO, a writer, and a young person attempting to leave an inward existence.

It tells the tragic tales of people who suffer from various types of depression and are of all ages and backgrounds. Depression: Out of the Shadows paints a never-before-seen picture of the illness via the words and experiences of people who are suffering from depression as well as conversations with researchers.

Watch it on Justwatch (12)

How Mad Are You?

“How Mad Are You?” looks into the link between personality qualities and mental illness and takes into account the societal repercussions of improperly diagnosing mental health issues (13).

The documentary is structured as a venture in which ten volunteers are required to do tasks ranging from straightforward and enjoyable to difficult and repulsive. But only 50% of the individuals are affected by mental disease. Viewers must determine which participants are sick as they watch them complete the challenges.

This is an excellent opportunity to practice paying attention and assessing the participants for indications of mental problems. This practice will aid us in determining who is genuinely experiencing mental health problems around us so that we may effectively assist them.

Watch it on Justwatch (14)

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OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie

Multiple psychological issues co-occurring are one of the complications psychologists will run against. This documentary is an excellent illustration of how people with several conditions could interact and interfere with each other in their daily lives.

In the documentary OC87, Bud Clayman discusses how his mental condition prevented him from fulfilling his ambition to become a filmmaker right out of college. Bud Clayman reclaims his ambition of being a filmmaker thirty years after mental illness prevented him from pursuing it and documents the highs and lows of his rehabilitation. The motivational narrative demonstrates how one may still use one’s skills to strive for one’s objectives.

Sometimes inspiration and motivation are all it takes to deal with mental health problems. This documentary gives us a positive outlook by using a real-life example to assess our mental health conditions.

Watch it on Justwatch (15)

Back from the Edge

This documentary provides a comprehensive overview of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and insights into its treatment. A few of the impacts they deal with include psychosis, mood swings, marital issues, ineffective emotion control, and impulsive conduct.

Three persons living with and recovering from borderline personality disorder are featured in this documentary. We learn from this documentary that due to the complexity of the diagnosis, the person with the condition and their family frequently need several support networks. It is also revealed that BPD frequently co-occurs with other illnesses rather than existing on its own, making a proper diagnosis frequently impossible. Some of them are eating disorders, drug misuse, and high-functioning depression.

Watch it on Youtube (16)

Light in the Darkness – Living Well After Trauma summary

Trauma is a widespread issue that goes unreported. Sadly, a large number of these individuals are hopeless. In response to this difficulty, this documentary devotes itself to shedding light on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

This documentary gives us an understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder and some inspirational experiences that give us hope for surviving and recovering from this terrible illness that affects many individuals on a daily basis.

It is a valuable resource for anybody with PTSD. It is also helpful for anyone with a friend or family member having PTSD who wants to learn how to help someone with anxiety or other mental health symptoms. An endeavor like this documentary will genuinely help our society. It aims to educate and heal while also drawing attention to those who most require it.

The movie offers a platform for awareness, dialogue, and rehabilitation of one of the most prevalent disorders via narrative and sends a message of hope to so many who may be dealing with challenging mental health issues.

Watch it on Amazon prime (17)

Neurons to Nirvana 

The 2013 documentary Neurons to Nirvana was made by Canadian director Oliver Hockenhull. The documentary looks at the facts supporting psychedelic substances’ medicinal advantages. This fascinating documentary explores the history of psychedelic drugs and their advantages and effects on the medical industry. 

The film portrayed why today’s culture is against utilizing these pharmaceuticals to curemental health documentaries 2 ailments, with input from leading psychologists and scientists. The documentary examines the history of five potent psychedelic compounds and their previously recognized medical potential via interviews with some of the world’s most renowned scientists, authors, and psychologists.

This documentary supports the notion that some psychedelic drugs may help and improve treatment. This movie is ideal if you want a comprehensive look into psychedelic drug research.

Watch it on Amazon prime (18)

Conclusion

People of all ages are affected by mental health difficulties. The stigma attached to them makes it difficult for people to get the care they need. Even when their lives are falling apart and becoming unmanageable, many people avoid asking for help out of a fear of being judged.

However, anyone willing to confront their difficulties could find support from mental health documentaries. The real-life examples of those who faced these problems and fully recovered will be shown in documentaries. A few hours spent on a screen might change how we see things and give us a more upbeat attitude on life.

The power of documentaries is remarkable. They assist us in broadening our horizons and comprehending the complexity of the various issues, problems, and situations that surround us. More significantly, they improve our empathy, a trait we require more than ever. These 18 documentaries about mental health will make you more aware of your difficulties. Furthermore, it would help if you looked at these documentaries to learn about particular mental illnesses.

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