A list of five times the NBC television show, “This Is Us,” got mental health right and portrayed things like mental illness, grief, miscarriage and coping mechanisms in a relatable and positive way.
5 Times ‘This Is Us’ Got Mental Health (Mostly) Right
1. When We Watched Randall Experience a Panic Attack.
“I really wish I could be there. It’s just one of those things, you know?”
The scene proves how subtle and calm panic attacks can look,
and that black men experience panic attacks too —
even if they aren’t always portrayed as anxious on screen.
2. When Kate Struggles With Food and Her Weight.
Kate partakes in restrictive behaviors common in both bulimia and anorexia.
“Do you know why no one’s defending you? Because you don’t have a problem. The people that come here have problems. Real problems with real issues. What do you come here for, anyways? So you can feel better about yourself because you’re not as screwed up as we are?”
Kate’s struggles, and the struggles of the “skinny” woman in Kate’s Overeaters Anonymous group, both teach us the same lesson—
eating disorders and self-image issues don’t have “look.”
3. When We See That Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate.
Jack struggles with alcoholism, just like his father.
Kevin, a successful actor, struggles with opioid addiction.
William, Randall’s biological father, struggles with drug addiction.
Kate struggles with overeating, which studies show may be more common if you’re predisposed to addiction.
No one — no matter your race, gender or age — is immune to addiction.
4. When Randall Shares How He Copes With Anxiety
Living with anxiety usually means dealing with its symptoms — not ridding yourself of it completely.
“But one of the things that helps me when I am feeling stressed out is running. I run like every day — it just helps me clear my mind. So if you ever feel like you want to, I would love to go running with you.”
When he shares his coping mechanism, he’s normalizing conversations about mental health —
without downplaying his (or her) struggle.
5. When Kate Experiences a Miscarriage
“How can I be this sad? I never even met the baby. Never held him or her.”
When one doctor suggests that Kate and her partner just “move on,”
it shows not everyone understands the grief that comes with a miscarriage —
even if they’re in the medical field.
Thank you, ‘This Is Us,’ for not shying away from depicting mental health.