On-screen portrayals of mental illness: extent, nature, and impacts

J Health Commun. 2006 Jul-Aug;11(5):523-41. doi: 10.1080/10810730600755889.


This article reviews the published literature on the extent, nature, and impacts of portrayal of mental illness in fictional films and television programs. The literature suggests that on-screen portrayals are frequent and generally negative, and have a cumulative effect on the public's perception of people with mental illness and on the likelihood of people with mental illness seeking appropriate help. The article concludes that there is a need for the mental health sector and the film and television industries to collaborate to counter negative portrayals of mental illness, and to explore the potential for positive portrayals to educate and inform, as well as to entertain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Motion Pictures*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Television*
  • Victoria