17 TV Shows (Streaming Right Now) People With Mental Illness Relate To


It’s no secret that art can imitate life. Perhaps this is why we often find movies and TV shows so relatable. When searching for a good TV show to watch, we sometimes find ourselves looking for characters who represent our experiences or have plot lines that speak to what we’ve gone through in our lives.

Because Netflix, Hulu and other online streaming services bring so many TV show options right to our fingertips, we sometimes need help figuring out what to watch. If you’ve ever found yourself asking what shows you might be able to relate to as someone with a mental illness, look no further!

We wanted to know what TV shows have important and relatable mental health content, so we asked people who live with mental illness in our mental health community to share what TV shows resonate with them.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Shameless”

“[This show is] such a realistic and true representation of bipolar… I was very emotional and in tears watching both characters struggle as it resonated very deeply with mine. To see it finally portrayed accurately just hit me hard. Loved it.” — Patricia L.

“The dysfunction that mental illness can cause within a family was very relatable. Especially when it stems from one of the parents. Seeing their mother struggle with bipolar disorder was heartbreaking.” — Christa M.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

2. “Scrubs”

“The narration of human behavior and interpersonal relationships is so real and raw, but there’s humor. It’s my happy place show.” — Jennifer S.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Hulu.

3. “Jessica Jones”

“It’s about a woman who’s dealing with the aftermath of an abusive relationship and who has PTSD symptoms. Also, she has to face her abuser and make sure he can’t hurt anyone anymore. She’s kick ass (with superpowers!) and watching her fight her demons made me feel empowered in some way.” — Fenna V.

“Seeing someone with superpowers struggling with PTSD makes it easier [for me] as a ‘regular’ person with mental illness.” — Mary M.

“[Her] addiction and her journey though what is real and what is not is really inspiring. Her sarcasm and her ability to disassociate from her reality is really relatable.” — Isobel T.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

4. “Please Like Me”

“I love that the show discusses mental health but at the same time doesn’t focus entirely on it. The opening credits specially make me really happy.” — Toshiba B.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Hulu.

5. “This is Us”

“The character Randall on ‘This Is Us’ resonates so deeply with me, as he tries desperately to manage his emotions and be strong for his family members and co-workers. His breakdown from overwhelming anxiety spoke to me.” — Shannon R.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Hulu.

6. “BoJack Horseman”

“It’s one of the most accurate depictions of depression and disassociation I’ve ever see.” — Ashley M.

“I somehow need to see BoJack be happy or at least get better because I see a lot of myself in him. I keep watching it, secretly hoping I’ll find some solution to my own problems.” — Riri W.

“This show both broke me and taught me a lot about myself.” — Chelsea V.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

7. “Gossip Girl”

“I always related my teenage years [to] Jenny Humphrey in ‘Gossip Girl’… minus the whole elite wealth thing. [I related to] her struggle to find herself amongst people who are two faced and having parents who didn’t understand her — being along but surrounded by people. I dunno. I just really related a lot of my struggles to hers throughout the seasons. (And of course now Taylor Momsen has a kick ass rock band, so that’s an added bonus!)” — Tiff K.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

8. “Lady Dynamite”

“Maria Bamford fuels her show with truths about mental illness. There’s mania, sadness, pretending and getting in touch with anger. It is a show that leaves you feeling like life can be exhilarating instead of unbearable.” — Andrea L.

“Even though I don’t have bipolar, the show also depicts depression and other issues in a deep, more than just funny way.” — Maria J.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

9. “13 Reasons Why”

Editor’s Note: Please note this show may be triggering for those who have attempted suicide, have experienced suicidal thoughts, have lost someone to suicide or have experienced sexual violence. The show depicts graphic scenes of suicide and rape.

“Hannah Baker is my person in real life. I was bullied, assaulted and other things. At the end of the show, I cried.” — Chris B.

“Heart-wrenching, sad, truthful, enlightening, sad again [because suicide is] preventable.” — Lori B.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

10. “United States of Tara”

“It’s about [dissociative identity disorder (DID)] which I don’t have, but I connected more to it because of the relationship between Tara and husband, and how mental illness affects relationships.” — Mary Grace B.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Hulu.

11. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

“This TV show has some in your face [PTSD moments], but many other subtle moments of PTSD [are] shown in Kimmy’s behavior. Even the fact that she was in a bunker for so many years reminds me of living with trauma for so long, without knowing it. And once you come out of the bunker, the world can feel like it stopped in time, and left you still acting like a little child in many forms.” — Anna C.

“This show helps me realize there is hope after bad things happen to you.” — Vanessa S.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

12. “Love”

“It addresses sex and love addiction, which the main character experiences [and] has to face. [She] seeks therapy and tries to better her relationships in both seasons. She also goes to AA and has done a lot of drugs in the past which she’s trying to quit.” — Kya P.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

13. “Sherlock”

“[I] massively identify with Sherlock. I see so much of my life with Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD in the way they’ve portrayed the character of Sherlock, and he calls himself a ‘sociopath’ just like I thought [I was] in high school. But he’s not emotionless, [he] just tries to suppress his emotions because they’re in some way ‘unacceptable,’ which was very much how I was for years until I met my own ‘John.’” — Katie T.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

14. “Misfits”

“I could always relate to Simon in ‘Misfits.’ I know what it’s like to be a sensitive person who’s mistreated just for being different, who’s marginalized to the point that he’s invisible, when all he wants is a friend.” — Shaun S.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Hulu.

15. One Day at a Time

“[I relate to] the ‘One Day at a Time’ reboot. [it’s about a] single mom struggling with depression [who] gets help but due to her cultural/racial background, [she] struggles with the fact she is seeking help through therapy and medication.” — Veronica F.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix.

16. “Breaking Bad”

“[I relate to] Jesse Pinkman from ‘Breaking Bad.’ It’s not very obvious, but as a fellow survivor I totally saw the signs of emotional abuse, not just from his home but also from Walter White and his reactions to his experiences [losing] himself in drugs and alcohol. Also what was really sweet was his love of kids and I related to that too, from all this pain wanting to protect and look after something as innocent as kids.” — Johanna R.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

17. “Supernatural”

“There’s a few people who know and understand my ‘way of life.’ But I have to keep it hidden from the world and keep battling my demons.” — Brianne O.

Where you can watch it: streaming on Netflix

What would you recommend?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Images via BoJack Horseman and Jessica Jones Facebook pages.


17 TV Shows (Streaming Right Now) People With Mental Illness Relate To

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