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18 Movies That Really Understand Depression

Men's Health Logo By Evan Romano of Men's Health | Slide 1 of 17: Official estimates say that 16.2 million adults—or, nearly 7% of the United States adult population—have had a depressive episode in any given year. There's still work to do, but awareness of those figures, and deeper reflection upon depression's role in everyday life, can go a long way in helping to defeat the stigma that surrounds mental illness. One way we can engage with that idea is through film. Movies help us identify with characters managing depression and scenarios that better outline what it's like to live with mental illness. Since film is a vessel for an artist's vision, many filmmakers channel their own experiences with depression into the movies that they make.Some movies make conversations about depression more approachable by casting lead actors typically associated with comedy, like Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction. In the same way that no one ever goes through their whole life feeling only happiness, even our favorite funny actors can find themselves in darker places.This is in no way an exhaustive list. But it's a list of art that, whether super popular from the moment it was released or that gained traction over time, does a worthy job of depicting the experience of living with depression.

Official estimates say that 16.2 million adults—or, nearly 7% of the United States adult population—have had a depressive episode in any given year. There's still work to do, but awareness of those figures, and deeper reflection upon depression's role in everyday life, can go a long way in helping to defeat the stigma that surrounds mental illness. One way we can engage with that idea is through film. Movies help us identify with characters managing depression and scenarios that better outline what it's like to live with mental illness.

Since film is a vessel for an artist's vision, many filmmakers channel their own experiences with depression into the movies that they make.

Some movies make conversations about depression more approachable by casting lead actors typically associated with comedy, like Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction. In the same way that no one ever goes through their whole life feeling only happiness, even our favorite funny actors can find themselves in darker places.

This is in no way an exhaustive list. But it's a list of art that, whether super popular from the moment it was released or that gained traction over time, does a worthy job of depicting the experience of living with depression.

© Disney/Sony/Paramount

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