Fascinating Documentaries about Mental Disorders

Dec. 26, 2022

Documentaries are powerful tools for educating and informing viewers. When it comes to mental disorders, documentaries can be especially helpful in giving a comprehensive look at the issues, providing insight into how different people are affected and how they manage their disorder. Watching documentaries about mental disorders can help us learn more about the condition while also understanding how such topics should be discussed and addressed.

Breaking Down Stigmas

The shadow of a hand on a man's face

One of the most important aspects of watching documentaries about mental health is that it can help break down stigmas and misconceptions about mental disorders. Despite an ever-growing awareness surrounding mental health, there are still many misconceptions that exist around certain disorders, such as depression or anxiety. By creating a safe space to discuss these topics openly and honestly through documentary films, we can start to change society's perception of mental health issues.  


Raising Awareness

A tablet with an image depicting mental health awareness

Another key factor when watching documentaries on mental disorders is that it helps raise awareness of the issue in general. This is particularly important when discussing the effects of various treatments and therapies available to those who suffer from a particular disorder. By seeing real-life stories told by those affected, viewers gain an understanding of what it’s like living with a mental disorder and what kind of treatments are available to them. This allows us to form stronger connections with those affected by these conditions and better understand how they feel on a daily basis.


Expanding Knowledge Base

A big collection of books lined up like a collage

Finally, watching documentaries on mental disorders can expand our knowledge base on the subject matter. Not only do we gain insight into different treatments or therapies available for certain conditions, but we also begin to recognize patterns in diagnosis or coping strategies used by those suffering from them. As we learn more about these topics through films, our own personal knowledge base expands allowing us to better understand how best to approach conversations surrounding them in our everyday lives.  


Which documentaries about mental disorders can I watch online right now?




A man with a cap holding a rifle over his shoulder and a woman by his side

After serving in Iraq and being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a man tries to get his life back together with a new love on a farm in northern North Carolina. A close yet respectful approach to a character with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this documentary is keenly empathetic towards its subjects while at the same time being rigorous about the journalism and interviewing, even given the darkness at the core of the film.


The Mask You Live In

A boy consoling another hooded boy with a basketball on his lap

This documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom explores how society’s narrow definition of masculinity affects young men and boys. It educates viewers on the damaging effects of expectations placed on men, such as having to project strength and stoicism at all times, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide.



Two men sitting in a sofa talking to each other

Crazywise takes a look at the idea of viewing mental illness as a spiritual crisis or calling rather than solely as an illness or disorder. The film follows individuals who have experienced what is commonly referred to as “psychosis” and how they manage their symptoms in ways other than medication and therapy. This powerful documentary sheds light on innovative ways to cope with mental illness that have been ignored by conventional medicine.


This Is My Brave  

A large group of people holding hands while victoriously pointing them up

This Is My Brave focuses on the lives of individuals living with mental illness who strive to break down the stigma surrounding it through storytelling and performance art. The stories range from funny to heartbreaking and everything in between, making this documentary both educational and inspiring for anyone struggling with mental health issues or wanting to learn more about them.


Touched With Fire

A man looks a woman that's smiling

This documentary examines the intersection between creativity and bipolar disorder through interviews with artists and experts in creative fields who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It looks at research showing that creative people may have higher rates of bipolar disorder than other populations, as well as how this condition can affect their work.



A woman in a dress is laying in a lake

At first glance, “Elena” is the tale of a family tragedy caused by the impossibility of creating art; the impact of the “frustrated dream” concept in three generations. The second generation — and the main focus of this documentary — is Elena, the eldest daughter. Determined to fulfill her dream of creating art as an actress, she tries her luck in New York. The chaotic city, full of dreamers massively trying the few opportunities available, proves to be a frustrating experience. Elena’s melancholic soul, in a deep and constant relationship with sadness, suffers to the point of no return. Elena is her intimate exercise that besides being incredibly therapeutic, is a beautiful artistic tale about depression.


Ida’s Diary

A blonde woman smiling while taking a selfie

Ida is a young Norwegian woman, struggling with a turbulent emotional life caused by emotionally unstable personality disorder (borderline). For the last eight years, Ida has kept a video diary in order to ease her mind and structure her thoughts. In her diary we get a unique insight into a world of fear and anxiety, but also precious moments of everyday victories and self-discovery. Most importantly we get to witness her powerful struggle towards self-acceptance and a genuine appreciation of life. Ida’s Diary is a film about hope, about finding your own identity and daring to live.



A woman with braids looking to the horizon

Angst is a documentary short film directed by Scilla Andreen that explores anxiety disorder in adults, teens, and children. The film provides an honest look at what it feels like to struggle with anxiety, including interviews with psychologists and those who have lived through it themselves. Angst gives viewers hope that they can manage their own anxieties while helping others understand the reality of living with an anxiety disorder.


Watching Documentaries are a Way to Break Down the Stigma

A hand holding a wrist

Documentary films have become increasingly popular over time due to their ability to make complex topics more accessible for viewers. When it comes to mental health issues, this is no exception; by watching documentaries on these topics we gain insight into different perspectives while learning more about the struggles associated with them as well as potential treatments available for sufferers. All of this helps create an atmosphere where stigmas surrounding mental health begin to dissipate while giving us all greater understanding into what it’s like living with such conditions day-to-day. Overall, documentary films provide an invaluable source of information when it comes to discussing any topic related to mental health which makes them essential viewing for anyone looking for greater insight into this important issue area in today's world.


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