Mental illness on screen – a new world of hopes and aspirations

It is a basic tenet of mainstream filmmaking that you want the audience to identify with your protagonist: to go on an emotional journey with them, to empathise with them. What, then, are the particular challenges filmmakers face when the protagonist is living with a mental illness?

Given the stigma that is still prevalent towards mental illness, how can filmmakers break down these barriers that inhibit the empathetic relationship between character and viewer? 


If sympathy suggests feeling for someone
(that is, feeling sorry for them),
empathy is distinguished by
feeling with them.

by Fincina Hopgood