100 MUST WATCH Movies About Psychology

Written by Alice Palioura

Truth be told, not all movies are realistic when depicting mental health issues. That is because the actors probably don’t suffer from a mental health disorder or just don’t know much about psychology. Nonetheless, anyone who wants to get more educated and indulged in psychology should start by watching some movies that will allow him to be sensitized and get a first glimpse of the laws of psychology and how each mental health issue may look like. Below are 100 movies and their themes:

  1. Silver Linings Playbook- Bipolar disorder
  2. A beautiful mind- Schizophrenia
  3. What about Bob- Anxiety
  4. The skeleton twins- Depression
  5. 12 angry men- Social psychology
  6. 28 days- Substance abuse disorders
  7. Enough- Domestic violence
  8. Notebook- Alzheimer’s disease
  9. Rain man- Autism
  10. As good as it gets- Obsessive compulsive disorder
  11.  Jacob’s ladder- Post traumatic stress disorder
  12. Split- Dissociative identity disorder
  13. Still Alice- Alzheimer’s disease
  14. Black swan- Psychosis
  15. Regarding Henry- Retrograde amnesia
  16. Reign over me- Post traumatic stress disorder
  17. Requiem for a dream- Addiction
  18.  Canvas- Schizophrenia
  19. Gone with the wind- Narcissistic personality disorder
  20. Annie Hall- Generalized anxiety disorder
  21. Mozart and the whale- Asperger’s syndrome
  22. To the bone- Anorexia
  23. Danish girl- Gender dysphoria
  24. The perks of being a wallflower-Depression
  25. It’s kind of a funny story- Depression
  26. Melancholia-Depression
  27. The platform-Social psychology
  28. The vow-Dementia
  29. Amadeus-Delusional disorder
  30. What’s eating Gilbert Grape-Intellectual disability
  31. Forrest Gump-Intellectual disability
  32. The lighthouse of the Whales-Autism
  33. Love and other drugs-Parkinson’s disease
  34. Ragin Bull-Intermittent explosive disorder
  35. The departed-Antisocial personality disorder
  36. Unforgiven-Antisocial personality disorder
  37. The butterfly effect-PTSD, Schizophrenia
  38. Hide and seek-Dissociative identity disorder
  39. Kramer vs Kramer- Psychology of divorce
  40. Secret obsession-Amnesia, PTSD
  41. The dream team- Psychiatric hospital
  42. Gone baby gone-Addiction, neglect
  43. The soloist- Schizophrenia
  44. Driving miss Daisy-Alzheimer
  45. Iron Lady-Alzheimer
  46. The help-Racism
  47. We need to talk about Kevin-Antisocial personality disorder
  48. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind-Generalized anxiety disorder
  49. Identity-Psychosis
  50. On golden pond-Dementia
  51. Memento-Amnesia
  52. The blind side-Family dynamics
  53. The hurricane-Discrimination
  54. Good Will Hunting-PTSD, Borderline personality disorder
  55. Ordinary people- Depression, Anxiety
  56. Save the last dance-Peer violence
  57. Girl, interrupted-Borderline personality disorder
  58. A clockwork orange-Antisocial personality disorder
  59. Take shelter-Schizophrenia
  60. The deer hunter-PTSD
  61. A woman under the influence-Psychosis
  62. Room-Captivity, PTSD
  63. I am not your negro-Racism
  64. Side effects-Antisocial personality disorder
  65. The headless woman-PTSD
  66. Prozac nation-Autobiographical, Depression
  67. Psycho-Schizophrenia
  68. The fire within-Alcoholism
  69. Mulholland Dr.-Narcissistic personality disorder
  70. Se7en-Antisocial and borderline personality disorder
  71. Clinical- PTSD, psychiatric patients
  72. Wounds-PTSD
  73. Fractured-Amnesia, grief
  74. The girl on the train-Depression, Alcoholism
  75. Escape room-Social psychology
  76. Freud-History of psychology
  77. The devil and Daniel Johnston-Bipolar disorder
  78. Shame-Borderline personality disorder
  79. Fight club-Dissociative personality disorder
  80. Pink Floyd: The wall-Social psychology
  81. The morning after-Drug abuse
  82. Lake city-Family dynamics
  83. My name is Bill W.- Alcoholism
  84. When love is not enough- Alcoholism
  85. Harold and Maude- Suicide
  86. Leaving Las Vegas- Suicide, Alcoholism
  87. The madness of King George- Bipolar disorder
  88. Benny and Joon- Schizophrenia
  89. Patch Adams- Depression
  90. The basketball diaries- Drug abuse
  91. It’s a wonderful life- Suicide
  92. After life- Down syndrome
  93. Spider- Schizophrenia
  94. Wonder- Bullying
  95. A girl like her- Bullying
  96. American psycho- Narcissistic personality disorder
  97. Shutter island- Delusional disorder

   For the closure, I left my personal top three movies. Number three is no other than: One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975). It’s about a psychiatric hospital still using abuse and medication as a form of compliance. A man from the prison is being transferred there in hopes that it will be better than prison. My second best is I am Sam (2001), a touching movie about an intellectually disabled man who raises his daughter by himself, the struggles he faces as his daughter grows up and the discrimination by society. Finally, there is: The silence of the lambs (1991), referring to a top student from the FBI training who interviews a psychiatrist who is also a cannibalistic serial killer, hoping he knows information about another case. It’s undeniably a psychological thriller that keeps everyone on the edge of their seats the whole duration.


The Hidden Figures of Mental Health

Written by Alice Palioura

It is undeniable that male psychologists have had major contributions in the mental health system, but, unfortunately, the importance of the work that women psychologists offered to shape it from its early years is usually overlooked rather than recognized. Many of them faced discrimination, couldn’t even vote or have their own office at the time, but still managed to alter the mental health system under these unfavorable conditions.

   A good example of an underestimated psychologist is Anna Freud. Everyone’s aware of her father, Sigmund Freud, but how many actually know about her efforts? The truth is that Anna not only expanded her father’s ideas and played a huge role in child psychotherapy, but also became one of the greatest psychoanalysts in the world.

   Another important figure, often described as one of the founders of neuropsychology, is Brenda Milner, currently at 102 years old. She led the way for a better understanding of the brain structure and memory and worked with the famous patient H.M. for over 30 years following his experimental surgery where portions of his brain were removed to ease his epilepsy.

  Mamie Phipps Clark, the first African American woman to earn a Phd in psychology, revealed the harmful effects of racism in children through the “Clark doll test”, which was used on the historic 1954 American supreme court case Brown v. Board of education. She also provided support to Americans of color and homeless black girls and overall improved the terms of mental health care about people of color. Similarly, Reiko True, a Japanese American psychologist born in 1933 strived to upgrade mental health services for Asian-Americans and other minorities.

  Moreover, a pioneer at child psychoanalysis was Melanie Klein, most known for her never before applied techniques such as play therapy that assisted children’s treatment. She also was one of the founders of object relations theory that shaped psychoanalysis.

 As an active member of the women’s suffrage party, educator and psychologist, Leta Stetter Hollingworth left her mark on the psychology of women and gifted children, especially the nature of gifted girls and women. Likewise, Helen Thompson Wooley, born in 1874, made contributions in the educational division but most importantly she was the first to research sex differences scientifically.

  Although women were once the minority in the mental health system, the tables have turned. Now they make up more than half the members of APA (American Psychological Association), replenishing those who were excluded all the previous years because of their sex.


CS7: Inside Out

Written by Melisa Shafiee

When we think back to our favorite childhood movies, we remember extravagant stories with comedy and adventure. However, there is one movie that sticks out from the rest as it not only shares an exciting story, but it also emphasizes an important message on mental health. It may also have been our first exposure to the emotions joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear, and even the topic of growing up. This movie is none other than Inside Out. 

Inside Out tells the story of Riley, who has difficulty adjusting to the new town she has moved in. She is constantly missing her friends and becoming distant from her family. It is prevalent that Riley, a young girl, is experiencing signs of depression and anxiety, as is shown by her attempting to run away from home. Throughout the movie, we are introduced to Riley’s main five emotions: The optimistic emotion of Joy, the gloomy emotion of Sadness, the fiery emotion of Anger, the contempt emotion of Disgust, and the panicky emotion of Fear. Much of Riley’s life has been dominated by Joy. However, as Riley experiences hardships in her new town, we see how emotions such as Sadness, Anger, and Fear, result in her to behave the way she does. At one point, Sadness begins to take over the other emotions, and she justifies by saying she simply cannot help it. The movie helps explain that we may sometimes feel sad out of the blue, and that is completely acceptable. In a world where we are constantly encouraged to be happy, it can be difficult to explain why one is sad- especially where there is no explanation. Inside Out maintains the theme of how it is okay to not be okay, and how it is acceptable for a child to feel sad at times. 

Inside Out further emphasizes the importances of our other, more disliked emotions such as Fear, Anger, Sadness. The movie conveys the message of how life would not be the same if we felt Joy all the time, and how our other emotions are just as necessary. Of course, no one wants to feel fearful all the time, but fear is essential as it holds us back from making impulsive and dangerous decisions. This is evident in Inside Out when Fear is described as the character that keeps Riley safe by making her think before her actions. The importance of Anger is also portrayed when Riley stands up for herself in her classroom. One of the most notable scenes of the movie is towards the end, where Riley recalls a memory of her cuddling with her family, disappointed after losing a hockey game. Though Joy tries to make this memory seem happier since it is her job, Sadness steps in and wisely mentions the importance of this sad memory. The sadness that Riley helped bond her with her family, and it served as a motivating learning experience for the future. When I first watched Inside Out, I remember being confused by this scene, wondering why a memory that sad should even exist. But, my mother reminded me that we need sadness in our lives because they help us grow as individuals. Since then, I have learned to cherish my sad memories, and use them as inspiration for growing stronger. Certainly, all of these emotions can be harmful if felt continuously, but Inside Out shows that we would not function the same without them. A curious child who watches the movie will become more familiar with each of their emotions, and learn why they are all important. 

Finally, it is important to mention the role childhood imaginary friends have in Inside Out. During one of the exciting journeys in the movie, we meet the character Bing Bong, who was Riley’s imaginary friend as a child. Bing Bong is a symbol of Riley’s purity and innocence from her childhood, but as Riley grows more mature, we see Bing Bong’s importance begin to fade away. Eventually, Bing Bong accepts that Riley has to move on from him to grow as an individual, and he becomes a distant memory. In this sentimental scene, we see the importance of maturity and moving on, though it may be difficult. Children are no stranger to having all sorts of imaginary friends, but it is important for them to learn to face reality as they grow older. Inside Out shows that it is difficult for children to not cling on to their past and experience the real world on their own, and the movie normalizes this idea. Children navigating the world on their own can be a challenging time mentally, but Inside Out demonstrates the importance of doing so because it fosters their future growth. The transition to adolescence involves losing friends, both real and imaginary, but it also involves gaining knowledge and our sense of identity. 

Inside Out gives us insight to common mental challenges that children experience as they grow older, from accepting their emotions to becoming mature individuals. It does what many other childrens’ movies fail to do, and that is to introduce children to the topic of mental health. Inside Out has complex characters, exciting adventures, and real world challenges, all wrapped up into one beautiful movie. Big or small, Inside Out’s message can touch us all. 


CS6: American Psycho

Written by Simran Johal

Patrick Bateman

  • Handsome perfectionist who enjoyed the aristocratic social life and social scene. 
  • He had to control every aspect of his life:
    • His cuticles 
    • His business cards 
    • His somewhat ritualistic sex routine 
  • His behaviour in the film, In my opinion, indicated an extreme case of OCD as he indicated “ritualized, repetitive behaviour that you[he] feel compelled to perform: your[his] obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior is irrational.

*NOTE: Always wants to be the best in everything he does. Could his father having a drastic amount of money have something to do with the fact that he notices every small detail and demands perfection for things to go his way? 

What it means to have extreme OCD

  • If you suffer from OCD, your obsessive and compulsive thoughts/behaviors become so consuming that they interfere with your daily life 
  • It’s an anxiety disorder that is characterized by unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts, as well as repetitive behaviours that you feel compelled to perform.
  • OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. 
  • You can try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen your symptoms or self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. 
  • It can seem like there’s no end to escaping your obsessions and compulsions, there are tons of different things you can do to regain control of your thoughts and actions. 

Given the symptoms listed above and the behaviours surrounding Patrick Bateman as a character my analysis of the film is that a person who ranks very highly on the societal ladder is struggling with mental health issues, OCD, with a twist. Towards the end we see him confessing to his crimes because he doesn’t want to keep doing this. To me, this shows direct correlation with a severe case of OCD. 


The Journey towards Self-Love

“In a society that profits from self hate loving yourself is a rebellious act-This is the one quote that I saw on pinterest and ever since my view of life has changed” is what many expect self love or gaining self esteem is like.Let me assure life isn’t a perfect phenomen where each journey can be put in one simple quote; but I can surely try to put mine in an article:)

I am a 15 year old and many might question my boldness to write an article about self esteem. But quite frankly I think teenagers are the main targets of low self esteem. A few days ago only I saw my cousin- keeping in mind that she is only 13 compare the size of her thighs to a 27 year old Victoria Secret Model. If you think that’s extreme, buckle up because I have seen it all, teens  forcing themselves to throw up everything that they’d eaten that morning,desperate to be thin; trying so hard to be perfect. 

‘Perfect’. Every single time I hear this phrase my heart shatters into a million pieces. Hearing my cousins and friends talk about wanting to lose weight buying designer brands like some necessities they needed to fit in. I always considered myself rebellious. I mean yes my family made me very conscious about how much I weighed,but I never let it get to me. Every time I looked into the mirror I hated what I saw, everything they told me was wrong with me, seemed true and I know that what was happening was wrong. I always wanted to shout at the top of my lungs and say “Have you met me?”. It takes seconds for everyone to tell how pale my skin is, how weird my birthmark is but no one seemed to appreciate who I really was. 

All they did was condense my potential, my calbour into what my body looked like and that crushed me every single day. I have a lot of expectations from myself because I know my worth and my potential inside and out. But for a very long time I let myself down. I had really wrong friends and to be honest I still believe that my friends aren’t the perfect fit for me. To cope with everything that everyone made me believe was wrong with my life I began imagining a life after high school where I could make the type of friends I wanted and be the person I wanted to be.

Soon, one afternoon I thought to myself self-esteem is just based on our own thoughts of ourselves and I knew that we could control our own thoughts, so I thought, “Yeah,maybe I could actually start to build my own self-esteem, and I was willing to try. So every day I looked in the mirror and told myself 10 things I love about me and I did it for 2 years.

Currently I don’t talk to any of my friends on a daily basis, I am on the journey of loving my own body and I have huge plans for myself like writing a book on self love and even starting a podcast.But I still don’t believe that my self esteem is at its highest. I have a long journey ahead and I aim to love every second of it.


Why the World Needs More Mental Health Professionals Now Than Ever

Mental Health & Poverty

  • More than 75% of people who have suffered from a mental illness in the world either receive no treatment or care. A major disadvantage for adolescents and their families is their mental health. Mental health problems in low-income families place them at risk of neglect or abused within their community.
  • The lack of access to affordable treatment leads to a cycle of poverty and mental health that is difficult to break
  • People in poverty are at high at risk of a mental illness, regularly exposed to stressful events, unstable living conditions, and exploitation
  • People who have mental illness will either remain or drift into poverty.

Veteran’s Mental Health

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a life-threatening event. Veterans with PTSD tend to have , trouble sleeping, maintaining relationships, and returning to their previous civilian lives. Due to ongoing wars, there is a constant demand for PTSD treatments
  • Since 2015, PTSD cases have risen over 50%, with over 540,000 veterans diagnosed today
  • At least 22 veterans take their own lives a day, due to stresses on the battlefield
  • 1 in every 5 military soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq has PTSD.

Teen Pregnancy

  • Compared to non pregnant teens, Teenagers before and after delivery have an increased risk of academic difficulties, behavioral disorders, illicit drug abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Children raised by depressed adolescent mothers have both genetic and environmental risks
  • Depressed adolescent mothers tend to have difficulties nurturing their child’s social and emotional needs. Proper child development is at risk if the mother lacks education, employment, and income.

Mental Health & Poverty: Breaking the Current Cycle

  • The treatment gap for common mental disorders in low and middle income countries can be addressed through an evidenced based treatment called Task-Shifting. Task-Shifting trains and supervises lay health workers.
  • Task-Shifting intervention delivered by lay health workers will address the treatment gap by educating and providing mental health care to other local communities .
  • Quality improvement programs for Mental Health centers will improve the care standards and outcome for people with mental health problems

Caring for Teen Mothers

  • Adolescents who are pregnant will have access to a therpeautic facility before and after delivery. Early treatment for mental health problems will avoid long-term consequences and affect how quickly the mother recovers.
  • Family intervention programs shall encourage postive reinforcement methods and avoid hostile environments
  • Implementation of Intensive School-based programs would offer medical coordination, support groups, availability for the teenage mother

Low-Income Countries

  • With a $150 billion dollar budget, funds will go towards constructing mental health care centers and provide wages for local mental health workers in low to middle income countries.
  • Funds will go towards Intervention programs like the Friendship Bench. Professional mental health workers will utilize task shifting methods to educate lay health workers and promote mental health care to local communities
  • Quality mental health centers will provide the necessary care and treatment for low income communities.

Veteran’s Fund

  • For $250 billion dollars, in every state there will be mental health centers. Support programs and wages will be provided for VA mental health workers.
  • We will hire more psychiatrist and social workers to give veterans the opportunity to treat their symptoms at the early stage. Specialized training will also be taught to social workers
  • We will add funds to the support program called Wounded Warriors that serve our veterans with mental or physical injuries. This intervention program will help veterans cope by not only offering therapy but will guide the veteran community to gain independence and economic empowerment

In Conclusion

Mental health is a global issue and a persistent part of the human condition. It affects people in all walks of life but in our project we have focused on three marginalized groups. Veterans, low-income communities, and teenage parents. Our priority is to fund facilities and healthcare professionals for these groups. Our second goal of the outreach program is to offer healthcare, medicine supplies, and opportunities to seek help. We want to give those suffering in these groups for specialized care, a place to go, but also seek them out and bring help to them.


Carey, Benedict. “The Chains of Mental Illness in West Africa.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Oct. 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Chibanda, Dixon, Tarryn Bowers, Ruth Verhey, Simbarashe Rusakaniko, Melanie Abas, Helen A. Weiss, and Ricardo Araya. “The Friendship Bench Programme: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of a Brief Psychological Intervention for Common Mental Disorders Delivered by Lay Health Workers in Zimbabwe.” International Journal of Mental Health Systems. BioMed Central, 11 May 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

Clyne, Melissa. “VA: 22 Veterans Commit Suicide Daily.” Newsmax. N.p., 04 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

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Lund, Crick, Mary De Silva, Sophie Plagerson, Sara Cooper, Dan Chisholm, Jishnu Das, Martin Knapp, and Vikram Patel. “Poverty and Mental Disorders: Breaking the Cycle in Low-income and Middle-income Countries.” The Lancet 378.9801 (2011): 1502-514. The Lancet, 17 Oct. 2011. Web.

@MSSNOTDRS. “The Truth About 22 Veteran Suicides A Day.” Task & Purpose. N.p., 02 June 2016. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.

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Mental Health & Popular Media

By Jada and Sania

Mental illness is a very stigmatized subject, needless to say. It is often found tough to talk about because of many different factors, including the fear of the unknown. Through the use of various stereotypes and over-dramatization, popular media (hereby referred to as movies & TV shows) enforces the public’s negative and fearful outlook on those with a mental illness. This notion is prevalent in movies such as A Beautiful Mind, Psycho, & even The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It is also noted in TV shows such as Dexter, You, & 13 Reasons Why. In this post, we will be going through the common misconceptions around mental health found in popular movies & TV shows and the reality behind the situations. 

1. The Psychotic & Dangerous Notion

Unfortunately, many of us are taught to believe that everyone who has a psychological condition is “psycho” and the term itself has been overused a lot, so much that it has basically lost it’s true meaning. 

A psychopath is an individual who uses manipulation, violence, and intimidation to control others and satisfy selfish needs. They can be intelligent and highly charismatic, but display a chronic inability to feel guilt, remorse, or anxiety about any of their actions. This is also considered being “cold-blooded” or “calculative”. 

So yes, not every criminal, murderer, or person with a mental illness can be labeled as a psychopath. Heck, even the movie “Psycho” was not about a real psycho, but rather someone who suffered from dissociative personality disorder. Another thing worthy to note is that most psychopaths are not killers. Just like the general population, most psychopaths don’t feel the need to get violent and do not act as threats. Otherwise, we would have way more serial killers today than we did.

2. Oversimplification- We tend to see the media either promoting mental illness as not being severe or not as serious as it needs to be. For example people who suffer from anorexia tend to make their illness sound not important or minimize it. In real life the death rate of anorexia is very high.

Another example is OCD, we often see it as them being worried about cleaning but it’s been oversimplification. However it’s the obsessive thoughts that drive their OCD, which is overlooked or absent.  

People who don’t suffer from this disease tend to mock people who do on social media for example- the hashtag OCD (#OCD) is commonly used to describe someone’s cleanniest or organization which due to shows and movies portraying a character with OCD like that. When really what they are doing is damaging and they are spreading false information.

3. Misrepresentation of Personality Disorders 

Similar to the misrepresentation with psychopaths, people suffering from personality disorders, such as OCD and bipolar disorder, often get stuck with the cliches in the media. For instance, obsessive compulsive disorder is often represented as “clean freaks” or “someone against messes” and bipolar disorder is typically depicted as only mania and moody. This goes hand-in-hand with our previous reason of over-simplification because it belittles actual mental illnesses, who many people suffer from, to stereotypes. 

An example of this is in the movie Split, which faced much backlash for portraying multiple personality disorder, or DID, quite inaccurately and again, violently. Most people suffering from DID do not experience violent tendencies and this notion just adds more fuel to the flame that is the stigma. 

  1. Damsel in Distress-  Love can’t fix you no matter how movies and tv shows choose to shove it down our throats. For example in 13 reasons why Clay Jensen says “I cost a girl her life because I was afraid to love her.” it sends the wrong message to viewers, they think love can cure all and that is wrong. Love is not a treatment and shouldn’t be used as one.

You cannot save someone from their mental illness. There is a time where it is hard to recover from it and most people never recover from it so they tend to live their whole life like that and thinking that you can save them is very unrealistic. Even therapists don’t want to save them but help them to be able to function in society, they try to get to the root of the problem. You can only try to understand and be patient and love them but that love can’t save them. 

  1. Mental Health Professionals

Mental health practitioners are commonly portrayed in one or more of the following ways: neurotic, unable to maintain professional boundaries, drug-or alcohol-addicted, rigid, controlling, ineffectual, mentally ill themselves, comically inept, uncaring, self-absorbed, having ulterior motives, easily tricked or manipulated, foolish, and/or idiotic (citing glen gabbard, 1998).

This false idea holds people from seeking help, thinking that all mental health professionals would be crazy or use their illness against them. 

  1. False treatment methods

Speaking of mental health professionals, treatment methods are often unrealistic in movies and TV shows. For instance, take A Beautiful Mind, a very famous movie based on the famous schizophrenic mathematician, John Forbes Nash Jr. It follows John Nash’s journey from graduate school at Princeton all the way to him winning the nobel prize, throughout it all focusing on his mental illness. Although Nash’s character was very exaggerated and made more complex than was necessary, the depiction of schizophrenia was accurate — for the most part.

However, that’s not where the concern lies. The concern lies within the fact that the movie showed Nash ditching medication and overcoming the illness with his own “willpower”. Now, this may sound great and corny, however it’s actually a seriously concerning depiction. Schizophrenia is one of the most complex mental illnesses and it is rare — even near to impossible — to overcome it without medication. 

  1. The notion that all mental illnesses are the same at the core and are all extreme and most of the time people cant recover-

I have said it once and I will say it again mental illness is not like any other mental illness. Everyone is different and they do not share the same mental illness. People’s recovery time is going to be different too. They would have typically grown up in harsh environments making recovery hard or easy environments making recovery a little faster with their families around.

There are a lot of factors that go into someone’s recovery time. That also has to do with the illness itself. Schizophrenics are different from someone who has multiple personality disorders and just because they act the same way doesn’t mean that they have the same mental illness. 

Due to the high stigmatization that the mentally ill face in our society, many who may have an illness choose not to find assistance even if the treatments are known to help reduce symptoms. One reason is because many are ashamed of their illness and do not want others to think they are crazier than they themselves already think they are — which is heightened by misrepresentations in popular media. Others fear being locked up in a psychiatric center where they will be treated like criminals and forced to take an overwhelming amount of medications. Again, the criminality notion and shame of medication use shown in the media add more fuel to the flames. The stigma around mental health is real and unfortunately movies and TV shows in the past haven’t done a very good job at reducing it. 


The Stress of School

Written by Sarah Frank.

Mental health and education go hand in hand. Often times, students feel an immense amount of pressure to succeed in school. There’s this idea enforced on us that everyone must get As, must take hard classes, must go to college, must achieve what society considers to be great. The stress of this can take its toll in varying degrees but most if not all students feel the pressure in some way. Even more than that, kids with completely different educational backgrounds are pitted together and held to the same standard. How can kids who can’t afford a textbook compete with kids who go home to a mansion? 

It’s like everyone is playing baseball and needs to get a run but some people get to start on 3rd base and some people have to go the extra mile to achieve the same thing. This is the perfect analogy for education inequity: the uneven distribution of resources and materials needed for school.

With the pandemic, education inequity is exacerbated. Some kids can’t stay home to learn safely and even for those that can, it’s really hard to learn virtually. That’s why I started Simple Studies, a nonprofit that offers a ton of free resources to help even out the playing field.

via Sarah Frank

I started it myself by making a website for my AP study guides. My friends wanted to contribute, and their friends wanted to contribute, and so on. I took to social media and spread the word in every way I could.

From there, it blossomed. Now, Simple Studies Inc has 200+ original study guides, a blog with advice articles, and study buddy matching. We have college application tips, free tutoring for every common class, standardized testing resources, a discord community with over 10,000 members, and daily study session video calls to encourage productivity.

Doing well in school is important, but it should never take precedent over mental health. Too often, kids feel a strong need to do well. Some of us sit in front of screens all day, our eyes flitting from one assignment to the next and straining from the long hours. Others have to figure out how to navigate a completely new in person environment. No matter what we do, there is difficulty and difficulty creates stress. It influences our thoughts, our actions, our ability to be happy and to relax.

One of the reasons I created Simple Studies is to help alleviate that inevitable stress of school. Students should be excited to learn, not anxious to try.

Our discord ( specifically has been a place for growth, connection, and learning. It’s become a community, one that helps every individual feel less alone. Every student struggles, no matter how smart they are. Having this kind of community has done wonders for alleviating anxiety and pressure. We are all in this together.

The Simple Studies website can be found here: Hopefully it can help you tap into your academic potential and alleviate any school-related stress.


Capitalizing on Insecurities

There’s nothing coincidental in an advertisement. It is never “just a picture.” A group of promoting specialists, including psychologists, put a parcel of time, thought, and cash into commercial advertisements. Most regularly, products are pitched to us to accept that our insecurities can be overcome by buying a certain item: We are going to end up as professional basketball players in the case of us purchasing the proper shoes, or our lips would seem more full and voluminous if we purchase a particular kind of lip gloss. All of an ad’s components are deliberately made to make us think or feel a certain way, and to divert us from things that would hinder us from buying that item, just like the social or environmental costs related with it. Promoters utilize techniques that are implied to control particular buyer bunches into needing and buying more stuff. “Targeting Teens” is one such procedure, in which companies capitalize off of insecurities. 

The more than 30 million teenagers within the United States nowadays are considered the country’s biggest customer statistic since teenagers regularly have expandable salaries, and are vulnerable to peer pressure  and “fitting in.” Hence, why many companies take advantage of this and create a marketing campaign around potential insecurities that customers may have. Take this example of an ad that aims at making the viewer self-conscious: 

Protein World, a weightloss company, faced lots of backlash in the late 2010’s for their body shaming advertisements, associating a specific body type as “beach body ready”. Since then, these ads have been banned in the United States but this is a perfect example of ad companies feeding off of female insecurity. 

Before we continue, it’s important to know how the psychology behind advertising and marketing works. 

There are many approaches marketers use, however the most common is emotion. Have you ever watched a TV advertisement and they used a song that makes you feel nostalgic? Besides music, there is also often a use of color that many of us don’t think too deeply about. Color can play a part in setting the mood and advertisers usually use a tint filter in order to stray the audience to think a certain way. For example, the color red typically raises blood pressure, heart rate, and causes quick decision making. Psychologists report that color impressions can account for 60-70 percent of consumer reaction. 

Going from that, advertisers usually strive to attract a target audience, which is a distinct group of people that will most likely purchase their product or service. Athletes, celebrities, and experts help assure consumers about the product, to build their credibility. It’s important to know that many celebrities take endorsements for brands they don’t actually believe in. Just because your favorite actress claims that they use a specific cleanser does not mean that they actually do. A lot of times advertisers also make use of babies and/or pets because, come on, the cuteness evokes emotion without even trying too hard. 

As a famous person once said, “creativity without strategy is called art. Creativity with strategy is called marketing.”

Next, many companies come up with a creative jingle or catchy tune that will be stuck in your head after watching the advertisement. For example, McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” with that little jingle at the end or State Farm’s “like a good neighbor State Farm is there”. Studies prove that symbols, slogans, and heuristic cues influence one’s memory/association of a product. 

Another example: Revive – Strive to Destigmatize. Hehe. 

The expression “AIDA” is used to signify the four reactions associated with an advertisement: attention, interest, desire, and action. 

Attention: regardless of the form of selling used, the prospect’s attention must be attracted and held.

Interest: the buyer’s interest has to be aroused to the point where they care to hear details about the merchandise.

Desire: as the sales presentation unfolds, the prospect should be made to see the advantage of the product or the service.

Action: the salesperson objective is to obtain a favorable culminating in an order. 

Lastly, to go deeper into the psychology aspect of advertising  and tie everything on the last slides together, it’s important to be familiar with sensations and perceptions — the basis of psychology. We will have a whole separate subtopic focused on them, however for now this is how they correlate with marketing. 

Sensation is the process by which our sensory receptors and nervous system receive and represent stimulus energy, how we detect physical energy from the environment and encode it with neural signals. Perception, on the other hand, is the process of organizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognize meaningful objects and events, and recognizing how we select, organize, and interpret the said information. Basically, sensation provides the raw information that perception constructs into our experiences.

In marketing, sensation would include the color, smell, appearance, etc of the product and perception would be what we, as individual minds, get from the advertisement and our final decision of whether to purchase the product/service or not. 

So all in all, it all boils down to sensation and perception. 

Going back to how companies feed off people’s insecurities, there’s really nothing we can do about that. We, as consumers, need motivation to purchase certain products and it’s the advertisement’s job to do just that. However, the line obviously crosses when the advertisement incites low self-esteem and when it does, it’s important for us to call the companies out, just like what happened with Protein World. 

Here are some things to remember when you look at or watch an advertisement and feel your confidence shatter:

  • Airbrushing and similar softwares are commonly used, especially for beauty and skincare advertisements. Nobody is perfect. 
  • Many advertisements aren’t shot in one go. There’s lots of video editing, fast forwarding, etc involved. Just because someone allegedly makes the ball in the hoop does not always mean it happened in one try. 
  • Models for advertisements get really professional makeup artists, great lighting, and take numerous shots before an advertisement is broadcasted or printed. Even for most skin care advertisements, subtle makeup is present. Nobody’s skin is flawless. Don’t beat yourself over it. 
  • Watch videos on YouTube covering how advertisements are made. Trust me, you won’t feel as insecure afterwards. 
  • PS: even for some of the food used in advertisements, they don’t use actual edible food. For example, the “milk” in cereal ads is usually glue. 

To anyone who needs to hear this: If your advertisement strategy involves making the audience lose their confidence, maybe don’t use it.


Perspective Study

Essena O-Neill & the Reflection of Social Media

What is social media to you? Is it a place to catch up with friends and family? Or maybe a place to keep up with the latest trends and news? Social Media is used in a lot of different ways by a lot of different people. It means more to some than it does to others. For 18 year old Essena O’Neill social media was everything, until she came to a rather devastating realization.

Blogger Essena O'Neill quits social media calling it 'contrived perfection  made to get attention'
courtesy of The Telegraph

Essena claimed that, even with social media, she was a lost and lonely teenager. None of her friends were truly her friends, they were just for show, along with mostly everything else in her life. The Australian born model came to a life changing realization; social media isn’t everything. Despite creating a prospering career out of using social media, Essena deleted all of her platforms and created a blog instead ( The blog revolves around a healthy lifestyle and how to better your life without social media. She also expresses topics that are meaningful to her.

Essena wanted to change her life. She claimed that social media was “just an illusion” and “not real life” in one of her videos on her website. She always believed that her Instagram pictures showed her worth, but she didn’t know she was worth more than that. From a young age Essena was obsessed with having a lot of followers and becoming famous. She would follow famous Facebook users because she thought they were everything. She wanted to be like them. She wrote on her blog, “I dreamed of being one. I studied them, I envied them, I put in a lot of effort to be one of them.”

Her passion for becoming famous also had impacted her health and mind set. Essena was conscious about the way her body looked from the age of 15. She would restrict her calories and exercise more than she needed too. She needed to be perfect for the photos she would later post. She was constantly worried about what other people thought of her. She wished someone was there to tell her that she didn’t need those likes on Instagram to feel wanted, but there was no one there for her. She had to grow her own self worth from strangers on the internet. She never thought of the damage she was doing to her body and mind.

Before Essena quit social media, she decided to tell her followers the truth behind all of her instagram pictures. She went back to every single one and edited the caption. The picture on the left has the new caption of, “paid for this photo. If you find yourself looking at “Instagram girls” and wishing your life was there’s…Realise you only see what they want. If they tag a company 99% of the time it’s paid. Nothing is wrong with supporting brands you love (for example I proudly would promote Eco sheets or a vegan means in exchange for money as its business for a purpose to me). BUT this has no purpose. No purpose in a forced smile, tiney clothes and being paid to look pretty. We are a generation told to consume and consume, with no thought of where it all comes from and where it all goes.

Essena O'Neill: The girl using social media to tell you social media is evil
courtesy of Mashable

Essena wanted people to know that not everyone’s perfect and that not all pictures look as they seem. She was tired from hiding behind a screen. She wanted everyone to know the real her. In reality she didn’t want to be alone anymore. Despite her large number of followers, Essena still felt a great amount of loneliness. To ignore the loneliness she needed “more followers, more viewers” to feel good about herself. Essena felt unworthy and unpopular by society’s standards when she didn’t receive a valid number of likes and views. These thoughts stopped her from becoming her own person. She was shaped by society and she had to break through the mold to be able to slowly paint her own life.

How the media reacted to Essena quitting social media was rather shocking. Instantly there were people claiming that Essena wasn’t really quitting, that she was just saying that to become even more popular. Two of Essena’s close social media friends posted a Youtube video saying that she was deleting her accounts as a stunt to get more followers. The two girls, Nina and Randa Nelson, later promoted the video on their Twitter. Nina Nelson even said, “I think the person that is fake here is Essena”. More tweets were made about how fake Essena really was, when in reality she was quitting social media because of that exact reason. No one believed her until she actually did it.

Essena O'Neill: A Call To Use Social Media Responsibly. | elephant journal
courtesy of Elephant Journal

Essena recieved hate from Facebook users too. They were also claiming that Essena was just promoting herself to get more followers. People didn’t understand what Essena was really trying to get at. They just assumed she was like all of the other social media stars. She took the harsh comments and actions well. Essena calmly told her followers and other commenters what was going on and continued to delete her accounts to prove them wrong. A comment was made to her by Mr. Jurgenson to “go outside, go to a park, go to a beach, go somewhere there are people around you.” Essena came to a conclusion in her final statement, “What I’m doing here is a statement that real life isn’t through screens”.

In the end, Essena got her message across about the reality of social media. In some of her last statements she said, “I no longer want to spend hours and hours of my time scrolling, viewing and comparing myself to others. I want to do something, anything, something radical, something a little different. I want to use my imagination, my individual mind, my unique take on this world.” She is on the road to a better lifestyle all well helping others achieve theirs. She will continue her website in hopes to make an impact on society today.


O’Neill, Essena. Behind the Image. Let’s Be Game Changers. N.p., 31 Oct. 2015.

Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <;.

Hunt, Elle. “Essena O’Neill Quits Instagram Claiming Social Media ‘Is Not Real Life.'” The Guardian. N.p., 3 Nov. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <;.

Chan-Laddaran, Kerry. “Social media Is Not Real, Says Teen Instagram Star.” CNN. Cable News Network, 4 Nov. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <;.

Bromwich, Jonah. “Essena O’Neill, Instagram Star, Recaptions Her Life.” The New York Times. N.P., 3 Nov. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <;.