Four TV Shows That Tackled Mental Health And Got It Right

The perfect place to start the conversation.

Netflix / NBC

On the whole we’ve gotten a little better at talking about our mental health and seeking the help that may be needed when we’re struggling.

That being said, we’re still nowhere near where we should be as a society and certainly not everyone feels comfortable enough to open up.

For that reason it’s hugely important that the idea of talking openly about mental health is normalised in the things we do in every day life.

Television is obviously one of the world’s most-loved pastimes, something we spend hours looking at, so addressing the issue here is a very useful starting point.

The Sopranos

Hailed as the greatest TV show of all time by many (and rightfully so) The Sopranos tackled the idea of mental wellbeing way before it came into the mainstream.

Admittedly it did it through a number of generally awful characters – but the fact it managed to humanise these bosses of the criminal underworld is an incredible testament to the writers.

Large chunks of the series are set in the office of Tony Soprano’s therapist, who attempts to help him deal with the worries and stress of his questionable lifestyle. Through these meetings we quickly learn that this mob boss is far more vulnerable than he lets on.


Scrubs is packed with moments that have reduced even the sternest of viewers to a blubbering mess.

As you’d expect with any medical show, death is a constant theme throughout, though none have explored the side-effects and other issues that come with that better than Scrubs did.

From Doctor Cox’s battle with depression to Michael J. Fox’s guest appearance as Dr. Kevin Casey who suffers from severe OCD, the show was groundbreaking in its nine-year run.

Scrubs was so brilliant at addressing these issues as it often did it through a comedic lens. One minute you had JD daydreaming about turning his best friend’s testicle into a disco ball before the gut-wrenching scene when Doctor Cox finally comes to terms with the death of his friend, Ben.

Bojack Horseman

The idea of an animated horse struggling with his demons is definitely an unconventional approach to a serious topic – but it’s also one of the best.

For a series that can produce moments of genuine hilarity, it equally measures those with devastating blows of reality – tackling issues that range from depression and addiction, to grief.

One of the most damning sequences come when we see Bojack coming to terms with his mother’s dementia and caring for her, after years of despising their relationship.

Mr Robot

Mr Robot is widely praised for its realistic depiction of mental illness, though Elliot’s dissociative identity disorder (DID) and struggles with anxiety and addiction.

The show’s creator, Sam Esmail has previously credited consulting with a psychologist in order to accurately portray Elliot’s storyline.

The decision 100% paid off, with viewers suffering from similar disorders heaping praise on the series for its sheer authenticity.

Are you struggling with your mental health? You can find support online at CALM or use the CALM helpline.

Send this to a friend