In honor of World Mental Health Day, I wanted to share some depictions of various mental health issues from different fandoms that have really resonated with me.
Harry Potter – Depression
Harry Potter has representations of a lot of different mental health issues. I am specifically choosing it for the representation of depression, and even more specifically about dementors. Dementors really are the embodiment of depression. Depression sucks the happiness out of you and leaves you feeling hopeless and numb. And it is the choice to think of your happiest memories to pull you out. There is a reason expecto patronum is my favorite spell.
Gris – Depression
Mental health representation in video games is abundant but has its issues along with successes. There are a bunch of games that do a great job at representing the struggles of different illnesses. Based on my experiences and of the games I have played, I have chosen Gris for this.
In Gris, you play as a girl experiencing great loss and having to recover, while large black creatures follow and attack her. The black creatures are certainly a depiction of depression. But I connected with Gris more through her journey of recovery. As she progresses, she regians pieces of herself and regains her strength, much like how recovery from a mental illness feels like. It is slow and takes work, and the threat of falling back down is always following you. And that is why I really love the representation of depression in Gris.
Attack on Titan – PTSD, Depression, Anxiety
Attack on Titan is loaded with mental health issues, which is understandable for essentially an apocalypse story. PTSD is certainly the most abundant of issues amongst the characters, having to watch their homes and neighbors and family suffer at the hands of Titans. Eren is a very clear example of PTSD in the show, but likely every character has it on some level or another. Eren also depicts anxiety through his issues with transforming and the panic that causes. And other characters carry more of the weight on their shoulders with depression. Levi is one of the many that can be a depiction of depression. Mikasa has her moments too. And Attack on Titan depicts some deeper mental illnesses like dissociative disorder in Reinhardt.
For me, the trauma and subsequent depression are where I relate to these characters. While I am thankful to not be in the titan apocalypse, I’ve had some trauma that was impactful to my mental well-being. And that trauma led to other issues.
What mental health representations in fandoms have resonated with you? Share in a comment below!
I love your correlation to movies and multiple examples! You are so creative and have helped me greatly. Blessings
Definitely Celeste and Night in the Woods – I connected with the main characters in a way I hadn’t with any other video game characters
Night in the Woods is another great example
Great read! It isn’t a fandom, but, I bought a game called N.E.R.O on a whim a while ago, the box art looked nice, but it turned out to be such a stunning experience. It walks you through the stages of grief in a way that resonated with me. It’s worth a play through. 😊
I’ll have to take a look at it. There is another game I have seen called simply Grief that looks fascinating. It is on itch.io
I wish I’d have known about this sooner as I’d have written about The Magicians! It deals with Quentin’s depression and how finding magic doesn’t help with that. A realistic approach, I think!
Great, unique article.
I think it’s interesting as I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series to see the tone of the series change. This also has to do with Rowling’s mindset as she was writing the series. This series is a great way to teach loss and sadness to younger kids.