Netflix houses huge number of series based on mental health and illness, which raises awareness about such highly, overlooked societal issues, by depicting the outcomes of these silent disorders. Here are some top viewed Netflix shows centering on mental health that garnered wide appreciations.
1. The Queen’s Gambit
2020’s critically renowned Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, harvested immense praises and acclamations, eventually turning out to be one of the best coming of age miniseries.
Centering on a young orphan Beth Harmon, the Netflix series had focused on mental health, childhood trauma and high-functioning substance use, which leads to ugly future circumstances.
In Queen’s Gambit, Beth Harmon, who possesses high-intelligence since birth, becomes one of the best chest players in town. The artist continues to rise and shine, conquering chess tables all over the globe. However, Beth’s addiction to tranquilizers and alcohol carry on throughout the series. And, on account of this, the chess legend has to endure some unpleasant outcomes, which might lead to her downfall.
Other than embracing mental health and illness, The Queen’s Gambit also brought forward an overlooked sport, as well as shed light on severe effects of childhood trauma. The series had won numerous accolades including two Golden Globe Awards.
2. 13 Reasons Why
One of the most watched Netflix series 13 Reasons Why became the talk of the town, during its premiere phase, thanks to the penetrating social issue and mental health element the teen drama had adopted.
Revolving around a bunch of high-school students and their tangled lives, the show was focused on the life of Clay Jenson, and the aftermath of his love interest Hannah Baer’s suicide.
Hannah had committed suicide, as she couldn’t deal with ignorance, neglect, bullying and rape etc. that she had to endure in high school. However, before her death, she leaves behind twelve cassette tapes, each dedicated to one of her friends, in which she details the reasons why she chose to end her life as well as disclosing the people she believed are were responsible in way or other.
Moreover, 13 Reason Why had explored and depicted a wide range of social issues affecting modern youth, including suicide, sexual assault, bullying, racism, jock culture, mental health, drug addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, homophobia, deportation, police brutality, steroid use, homelessness, HIV, abortion and school shootings. Hence, the show became majorly popular, especially in young adult world.
3. Jessica Jones
Three seasons’ long Netflix series Jessica Jones is another of the mental health and social issues based title, which harvested quite a viewership, with its action-adventure timeline.
As the name suggests, the series narrates the life-story of Marvel’s Super Woman Jessica Jones, who gives up on her superhero world, after a dark incident. Jessica becomes a private investigator then, battling the wrongdoers who need to be stopped. However, because of the horrible past event, Jessica is stricken with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that messes up with her present and future.
The Netflix series, besides mental health also explores topics like rape, assault, PTSDs and depression.
4. Bojack Horseman
Animated TV series are mostly expected to be all about humor, action or adventure. But, talking mental health through cartoons is hardely seen. And, Netflix series Bojack Horseman is one of them.
Focused on a life story of cartoon horse, the series depicts Bojack Horseman as a one-time star of a 90s TV show who wants to return to Hollywood. Nevertheless, the modern industry is very different from the past times. And, blending in with it isn’t a piece of cake.
Consequently, Bojack develops intense depression, followed with alcohol misuse. The titular character is also shown taking anti-depressants to fight this inner demon, that is destroying him physically and mentally. With such strong and adult storyline, the show isn’t something for kids.
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Heartfelt comedy-drama Netflix series Atypical, speaks mental health on high note, even though mixed beautifully with comedy portion.
It follows 18 years old Sam, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder, and his life story depicting what people with autism of other neurodevelopment disorders goes through. Besides learning to accommodate Sam’s needs, his family grapples with adapting to unexpected events when issues like infidelity and sexuality arise within the family.
Moreover, other than raising awareness about such disorder, Atypical puts a public eye on the lives of caregivers and their struggles as well. As in the series, Sam’s mother struggles to allow him to be independent, whereas his father has difficulties accepting his son’s condition.
6. Spinning out
Netflix series ‘Spinning out’ focuses precisely on bipolar mental health disorder, and trails the story of a young and aspiring ice-skater Kat Baker, who is strong minded on starting over after an abrupt fall leaves her in serious injury which becomes an obstacle for her to reach full potential in the skating world.
However, besides the injury, Kat and her mother also have bipolar disorder, and show a range of symptoms throughout the series, like self-harm, rage, psychosis, memory loss, and impulsive behavior. Hence, Kat has to deal with both physical and mental trauma together with hiding her mental illness from world.
7. Never have I ever
Never Have I Ever is a heartwarming and relatable story that depicts the life of a first generation Indian American teen Devi, and her struggles to fit in an American high-school and lifestyle.
Devi loses her father to a sudden heart attack, and has been in grief ever since. Yet, she decides to stand up for herself and continue her life, while dealing with the sorrow silently. But, the international life and her struggling relationship with mother and family do not let her be in peace.
Another of the Netflix series based on mental health, Afterlife is all about dealing with suicidal thoughts and grief of a loved one’s death. The Afterlife centers on Tony, who had a perfect life until his wife Lisa died. After that tragic event, the formerly nice guy changed. After contemplating taking his life, Tony decides he would rather live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever he likes. He thinks of it as a superpower, not caring about himself or anybody else, but it ends up being trickier than he envisioned when his friends and family try to save the nice guy that they used to know.
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