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Though we all love a good escape when we stream Netflix for the night (or the whole weekend sometimes, if we’re honest) some TV shows, even if they’re of the reality genre, need a reality check. Some examples: People don’t always enjoy, or even have sex in high school, or give birth in the amount of time it takes to order a latte.

Other times, shows really get it right, erythromycin stearate iupac name especially when it comes to mental health. Honest depictions not only increase visibility of mental illness and help take away stigma, but they also fill the audience in on what it’s really like to have a mental illness. And sometimes those details aren’t so pretty. Within the past 10 years, there’s been a surge in shows depicting characters with disorders like OCD, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. While they don’t always nail every detail exactly accurately, many series have been careful and responsible about it.

These eight shows offer a smart, sensible look into mental illness.

Never Have I Ever

Don’t write off the fact that this is a high school show, because there are much more mature themes about mental health in this show (and it’s been the number one show on Netflix in multiple countries with almost every season release, so the audience expands way beyond Gen Z). The series begins with teenage Devi reeling from the death of her father, after which she experienced temporary paralysis, and then returning to high school. Though it never mentions a concrete diagnosis of PTSD, the show depicts how Devi and her mother and family navigate their own grief and anger, especially given that Devi had a closer relationship with her father. The main character regularly sees a therapist, Dr. Ryan, played by the genuine and scene-stealing Niecy Nash, who listens to Devi intently but also encourages her to take accountability for her actions and angry outbursts as she works through the grief process.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Despite having “crazy” in its title, the loveable musical dramedy has nailed portraying mental health issues with heart and honesty. After all, how many shows can get away with singing punchy songs about anxiety and depression? In “You Stupid Bitch, ”Rebecca Bunch, portrayed by Rachel Bloom, sang about her lowest moments of depression. Bloom, who is open about suffering from depression, says the tune rang true because it’s how she feels about herself when she’s feeling low. And we can’t forget about the tongue-in-cheek “Sexy French Depression,” which pokes fun at how we can romanticize the condition.


CIA officer Carrie (Claire Danes) outsmarts terrorists and saves the country time and time again, all while battling bipolar disorder. Over time, as the show progresses, we witness Carrie dealing with every aspect of her condition, from fights with her family when she goes off her meds to psychotic episodes to the emotional and career highs she experiences when her mental health is under her control. Homeland never shies away from showing the nitty gritty, and it illustrates the reality of how much bipolar disorder effects every aspect of Carrie’s life, including motherhood, her love life, and her job. Danes has won accolades for portraying such a complex character with nuance.

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