You’ve probably seen it before: a quirky TV or movie character so obsessed with tidiness, order, and perfection that other characters refer to them as being “so OCD” … and that’s the entirety of the joke. Think Monica Geller from “Friends”. While Hollywood has never been one to faithfully represent mental illnesses, its particular treatment of OCD–obsessive compulsive disorder–as a comical, cleaning-obsessed quirk has contributed to an extremely damaging stigma around the illness. This stigma not only downplays the experiences of those who struggle with this challenging disorder, but instills false ideas about what it actually means to have OCD. And while TV in particular has done a better job than in earlier decades about showing life with OCD, the road ahead to good, mainstream media representation has yet to be paved.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 21% of U.S. adults—1 out of 5—experienced mental illness in 2020, and an alarming 7.7 million young people, aged 6 to 17, experienced a mental health disorder in later years. Conversations about mental health are becoming increasingly more important to help inform, raise awareness, and destigmatize these issues.
This is where the media can help
Recently, a lot of studies have come out documenting the phenomenon known as binge-watching TV shows and how it could possibly relate to depression. During the past years, binge-watching has become a highly popular way of spending free time. However, specialists are warning that there have been cases of problematic binge-watching that act as coping mechanisms against stress and loneliness.