Health The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness  

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There are a number of documentaries out there that discuss mental illnesses, including depression, suicide, autism, and insomnia. Documentaries are great educational pieces that can be extremely informative. The best documentaries about mental illnesses approach their given topics by presenting multiple sides of the issues and offering practical solutions. What are the best documentaries about mental illness?
 
A person who’s suffering from a mental illness can be hard to understand. Many display irrational behaviors and thinking patterns that isolate them from the rest of the world. For family members and friends who know a loved one suffering from an illness of this type, a relationship can be incredibly difficult to navigate without better understanding. A documentary about mental illness can help identify medical reasons for mental disorders, and offer a sense of connection through understanding the associated symptoms more easily.
 
This list discusses the best documentary films discussing mental illness, including: The Horse Boy, Ryan, Tarnation, Happy, Let There Be Light, Isolation, Other Voices, Flipping Out, Walk Away Renee, Warrendale, and My Heart of Darkness. 
list ordered by

1
49 14
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Jeff Feuerzeig The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a 2005 documentary film about the noted American musician Daniel Johnston. It chronicles Johnston's life from childhood up to the present, with an emphasis on ...more

2
38 13
Alien Boy: The Life and Death ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Brian Lindstrom Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse is an American feature length documentary film, released in 2013 and directed by Brian Lindstrom. The film explores issues of police accountability ...more

3
40 16
Happy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Happy

4
26 7
Multiple Personality: Reality ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Multiple Personality: Reality and Illusion James Myer Multiple Personality: Reality and Illusion is a 1999 documentary film that explores Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. The fact based docudrama ...more

5
21 7
Thin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Lauren Greenfield The 2006 cinéma vérité documentary film, Thin, directed by Lauren Greenfield and distributed by HBO, is an exploration of The Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida; a ...more

6
23 11
Running from Crazy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Running from Crazy Barbara Kopple Running from Crazy is a 2013 documentary film by director Barbara Kopple about the family of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway. It was shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Through ...more

7
18 7
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Canis Lupus added Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive Ross Wilson Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive is a 2006 two-part television documentary directed by Ross Wilson and featuring British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. It explores the ...more

8
17 7
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Chris Landreth Ryan is a 2004 animated documentary created and directed by Chris Landreth about Canadian animator Ryan Larkin, who had lived on skid row in Montreal as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. ...more

9
13 4
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Jonathan Caouette Tarnation is a 2003 American documentary film by Jonathan Caouette. The film was created by Caouette from over 20 years of hundreds of hours of old Super 8 footage, VHS videotape, photographs, ...more

10
13 5
Let There Be Light is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
John Huston Let There Be Light is a 1946 American documentary film directed by John Huston. The film was the last in a series of three films directed by Huston while serving in the United States Army Signal ...more

11
11 4
Other Voices is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Dan McCormack Other Voices is a 2000 drama film written and directed by Dan McCormack.

12
7 1
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Are the Kids Alright? Ellen Spiro, Karen Bernstein Are the Kids Alright? is a documentary film which explores mental health care for children and youths at risk in Texas. Filmmaker, Ellen Spiro, gained unprecedented and unique access to troubled ...more

13
7 1
Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Hel... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Help It

14
9 3
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Michel O. Scott A family travels through Mongolia in search of a mysterious shaman who they believe can heal their autistic son.

15
11 6
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Frederick Wiseman Titicut Follies is a 1967 American documentary film directed by Frederick Wiseman and filmed by John Marshall, about the patient-inmates of Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane, ...more

16
12 8
Code Therapy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Jason Jensen added Code Therapy

17
5 1
A Journal of Insomnia is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
A Journal of Insomnia Bruno Choinière, Thibaut Duverneix, Philippe Lambert A Journal of Insomnia is a 2013 web documentary about insomnia, produced by Hugues Sweeney and created by Bruno Choiniere, Philippe Lambert, Thibaut Duverneix and Guillaume Braun for the ...more

18
5 1
John's Not Mad is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
John's Not Mad is a QED documentary made by the BBC in 1989. It was ranked, in a British public poll, as one of the 50 Greatest Documentaries.

19
9 6
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Jeff Malmberg "Marwencol is a fantasy world created by Mark Hogancamp. This website is dedicated to capturing the beauty of Mark's secret world. After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men ...more

20
6 3
Walk Away Renee is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Jonathan Caouette Walk Away Renee is a 2011 American documentary film directed by Jonathan Caouette. It is the third full length feature in Caouette's filmography. Intended as a companion to Caouette's first ...more

21
5 2
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Children of the Stars Rob Aspey Children of the Stars is a 2007 documentary about children with autism in the People's Republic of China. It was produced by Alexander Haase and directed by Rob Aspey. The title is an English ...more

22
5 2
I'm Still Here: The Truth Abou... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
I'm Still Here: the Truth About Schizophrenia Robert Bilheimer, Richard Young I'm Still Here: The Truth About Schizophrenia is a documentary film about schizophrenia. This 65-minute, black-and-white film was written and directed by Robert Bilheimer. Bilheimer began ...more

23
5 2
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Seven Dumpsters and a Corpse Thomas Haemmerli Seven Dumpsters and a Corpse is a documentary film by Swiss journalist Thomas Haemmerli.

24
5 2
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The Collector of Bedford Street Alice Elliott The Collector of Bedford Street is a 2002 documentary film about director Alice Elliott's neighbor, Larry Selman, a community activist and fundraiser who had an intellectual disability.

25
4 1
Georgi and the Butterflies is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Documentaries About Mental Illness
Georgi and the Butterflies Andrey Paounov Georgi and the Butterflies is a Bulgarian documentary film from 2004. It was directed by Andrey Paounov. The film won the "Silver Wolf" award at the International Documentary Film