Movies & Madness

Movies & Madness explores the ways people with mental illnesses and psychological disorders as well as those who provide treatment to those people have been presented in feature films. Film, like other forms of media, has a powerful impact on culture informing and mirroring our feelings, thoughts and actions as individuals.  The course examines the issue of stigmatization and marginalization of people with mental illness as a social problem exacerbated by misleading and negative images presented in the mass media.  The course also provides very basic information about psychological disorders, the mental health system, and various treatment approaches.

Objectives of the Course:

  • To be able to critically evaluate depictions of people with mental illnesses and psychological disorders in feature films.

  • To be able to critically evaluate depictions of mental health professionals and the treatment of psychologicaldisorders in feature films.

  • To develop a sophisticated understanding of the impact of inaccurate and negative images of mental illnesses and their treatment on individuals and the culture as a whole.

  • To learn basic information about psychological disorders and their treatment that is both accurate and useful.

Given that most people in American culture learn about mental illness and psychological disorders from the mass media, most of what they know is inaccurate and stereotyped.  This leads to the further stigmatization and marginalization of people with mental illnesses and causes such people to be negatively impacted in a variety of ways. In addition, negative and/or misinformed attitudes about mental illness leaves people vulnerable to neglecting their own mental health needs and the needs of those around them.  This course will be an attempt to address these issues.

  1. If my car got better gas mileage I would take this course. I am sure this course opens minds, thank you for furthering mental wellness.

    • Thank you! I’m thinking about offering the class online in the future. I’m a little “old school” but it’s something I need to learn how to do.

      • I’m old school as well. I missed out on the advent of cell phones even so am quite technically challenged. Consider me in line for the online edition but no pressure 🙂

  2. Thank you for following me on Twitter. I’m very interested in your course.This has long been a research interest of mine. My own approach has been a little different. I have been particularly interested in the distorted images of psychiatrists in the movies. Most of the public has never known a psychiatrist. Most of the impressions about who we are and what we do are generated by the movies. The distorted stereotypes and archetypes of psychiatrists in movies has had a negative influence on people’s willingness to access psychiatric treatment, outpatient as well as inpatient. I write about this little in an appendix in my book.

    Where are you located? If it’s nearby I love an opportunity to come and speak with your class, or if I happen to be in town where you are. I’m traveling to various places around the country to give talks pertaining to my book, many of them to state affiliates of NAMI. Are you involved in NAMI in your area? Perhaps they’d be interested in my speaking or doing a workshop at their annual meeting or convention. That’s typically the format In which I am invited: keynote speaker and to provide a workshop. I’ll be a keynote speaker this year at NAMIs national convention in San Antonio in June.

    My professional website is, and much more about my book is at

    Hope to hear from you.

    Regards, Mark Komrad M.D.

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