For many of us growing up video games were something we played on the regular they allowed us to get competitive and provided us with an escape. From handheld gaming consoles like Gameboys, Nintendo DSs and now the Switch to consoles like PlayStation, Xbox and the Wii. Video games have been apart of our lives both in the past, present and will continue to be in the future. This doesn’t include computer games such as Neopets, Club Penguin, Minecraft and Fortnight or phone apps – remember the Pokémon Go obsession? All of which have fluctuated in popularity over the years.
Mental illness has long been a topic of movies and as was mentioned last week,TV shows. This week another film can be added to the list of movies using mental illness as a theme, Dear Evan Hansen. This is the film version of the Tony Award Winning musical of the same name.
The basic storyline of the film/musical is that Evan Hansen (played by Ben Platt who was the first to play the role on Broadway) is a teenager suffering from social anxiety disorder and his therapist has asked to write letters to himself to boost his self-esteem. One day while writing one on a computer in the school library he accidentally presses print and it’s discovered by Connor, a student who is also suffering from his own mental health battles who takes the letter moments after signing Evan’s cast to prove that they both have friends. A few days later Connor kills himself and his parents find the letter and believe that Connor and Evan were friends, and that Connor was the one who wrote the letter for Evan as a final note. Evan decides to go along with this assumption and even embellishes it to make it seem like they were best friends. Evan finds the love and acceptance he’s always wanted but it’s built on a lie.
Imagine this you are in the doctor’s office wanting treatment for your mental illness and they suggest that there’s this new treatment on the market that’s showing great response and doesn’t require you taking a pill once a day. You’re curious about it and it’s then that they mention it’s it called psilocybin or magic mushrooms, you give it a go and to your surprise it works. While this may seem, farfetched this could be a reality in the not to distance future. With the Australian government recently investing $15 million in grants to research this.
Recently mental illness has been having a moment in TV shows, people are finding that by introducing characters with a mental illness can lead to conversations surrounding having a mental illness which helps reduce the stigma with it. But can it do more harm than good when it comes to reducing the stigma with mental illness and can it lead to harmful stereotypes?