With the recent success of films such as Silver Linings Playbook and TV shows like Homeland and United States of Tara, there has been a marked shift in how mentally ill characters are portrayed on screen.
Dr Hopgood points to these guidelines as evidence of the shift towards empathy. “By moving away from stereotypes and stigmatising representations towards more accurate and sensitive portrayals, filmmakers and TV producers can develop a stronger emotional connection between a character who is mentally unwell, and the viewer,” she says. “The storytelling becomes richer, more creative, and ultimately more satisfying.”
This shift towards empathy is the focus
of an upcoming two-day event to be held
at The Dax Centre
This shift towards empathy is the focus of an upcoming two-day event to be held at The Dax Centre on 13 and 14 February.
The interdisciplinary symposium, Try Walking in My Shoes: Empathy and Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen, will bring together filmmakers, academics, mental health professionals and the public to explore questions such as: How is mental illness represented in film and television? What emotions are elicited from the viewer?
by Ryan Sheales