Learning Objective: Students will supplement their knowledge and comprehension of common mental health disorders such as Anxiety, Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, OCD, Psychosis, Schizophrenia and etc. through analyzing and evaluating their portrayal in selected media.

Desired Outcome: Students will develop their understanding of the featured mental illness through the analysis and evaluation of the characters’ portrayal of mental illness, which will include a discussion of the accuracy of portrayal as well as the diagnostic criteria and treatment of the featured disorder

Assignment: After watching the movie, identify and analyze the portrayal of the featured mental illness in a “simple” analysis paper. The must be completed in APA format and needs to include two (2) Scholarly References. 



  • You are NOT creating a summary or “review” of the movie.
  • You are analyzing the characters’ portrayal, and the movie’s depiction of the “mental illness”.
    To make the disorder become more relevant, you will address three components of the film:
  • Paragraph 1: Introduction to the movie and the depiction of mental illness in the movie (your main sentence within this paragraph will indicate what your three points are going to be.)
  • Accuracy of the portrayal of mental illness: How is the character shown to be mentally ill? How is the illness communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film? Does the film say what the condition is? What are the “typical” symptoms and how are they displayed? How is the condition diagnosed? What are the diagnostic criteria for the illness depicted in the movie? Does this character meet that criterion? To be specific, how is the illness communicated to viewers and to other actors in the film? In what ways does the movie accurately represent the disorder or misrepresent it? Explain using an example from the movie.
  • Treatment recommendations: How is the illness “treated” in the movie you chose? What other treatments are available? (Especially if this movie is older, are there new therapies?) What might be a possible treatment plan for this character?
  • Professional ethics: How are the doctors and therapists depicted? What are their interactions with the ill character? How are these professionals helping or hurting the situation? What is the purpose of depicting mental health care professionals in this light?
  • Paragraph 5: Include a Conclusion. It is a good rule of thumb to go back to your introduction paragraph and make sure you hit all the points that you said you would address.

Analysis Paper, Template: (Double space, proofread for spelling & grammar!)

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