Next week (6-12 February) is Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK, so if you’re planning any work or discussions you’ll need a good way in.

Now, the problem with mental health is that we can all only experience the world through our own minds. So it can be difficult to explain issues to someone who has no experience of it themselves – especially young people.

This is where fiction (and non-fiction) can help bridge that gap, to help others understand and empathise with anyone afflicted with mental health issues and the effects it can have on the people around them.

So, we’ve compiled a list of films that you may or may not have seen that explore various mental health issues.

We all know that film and TV isn’t always the most sensitive medium for portraying these various disorders, but there are many movies and documentaries out there created with sensitivity and subtlety that can be wonderful to improve empathy in the viewer as well as raising awareness about mental health and wellbeing.

Here are some recommendations:

Note: Obviously these films will deal with difficult issues so please research to ensure suitability to your class.


  • The Virgin Suicides (alternatively, try the Turkish remake/reinterpretation Mustang)
  • The Hours
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Anxiety and Stress

  • Two Days, One Night

Eating disorders

  • God Help The Girl


  • Nebraska
  • Amour
  • Still Alice


  • A Beautiful Mind

For younger viewers

  • Inside Out