Movies and TV shows that accurately portray behavioral health and recovery

As posted on AOTA CommunOT.


(The Voice Awards are sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The program recognizes television and film productions that educate the public about behavioral health and showcase that recovery is real and possible through treatment and recovery supports.)

One Day at a Time, NetflixThis series has won multiple Voice Awards including a 2018 award. The show was awarded for putting treatment of mental illness into perspective and for its accurate portrayal of PTSD, addiction, and recovery storylines. Three generations of a Cuban-American family live in the same house, including a newly single Army Nursing Corps veteran returning to civilian life. This comedy deals with important issues common to many veterans. Watch a trailer.

This Is Us, NBCThis Is Us won a Voice Award for its accurate portrayal of anxiety, addiction, and recovery. It is a tear jerker of a show—if you’ve never seen it, you might even cry just watching a trailer. Season 3 is back on September 25, 2018!

Jane the Virgin, NetflixFramed as a funny and melodramatic telenovela, the show takes many opportunities to address and educate viewers on issues such as mental illness and addiction. Season 3 of the show won a Voice Award for its portrayal of grief, panic attacks, mental illness, and addiction.

9-1-1, FoxThis show won a 2018 Voice Award for the emotional storyline of a first responder whose job it is to save others, but the one who really needs saving is the first responder himself. Watch it on Fox here.

MOM, CBSThe TV show MOM received a 2018 Voice Award for depicting a strong example of family and peer support. The comedy focuses on a single mom who is now sober and her own mother who is newly sober. Both characters have to rely on the help of their support systems, sponsors, and friends. Watch it on CBS here.

Giants, Series Available on YoutubeGiants the Series won a 2018 Voice Award for its storyline. The show focuses on three black millennials each battling their own “inner giants”—from mental health, sexual identity, religious skepticism, and economic survival. Watch two seasons of the show on Youtube.


Loving Vincent, streaming on HuluThe film Loving Vincent tells the story of Vincent van Gogh who had a serious mental illness but showed compassion for those around him. It won a 2018 Voice Award for this storyline. The film was the world’s first fully painted feature film.

Heroin(E), streaming on NetflixA Netflix original documentary won a 2018 Voice Award for “depicting a community to provide the hope and the help that will allow individuals battling addiction to recover their lives.”

Being Charlie, streaming on NetflixThe film is based on the true story of the director Rob Reiner’s son’s struggle with addiction. It won a Voice Award for its ongoing commitment to recovery and its openness around the importance of family support for those dealing with addiction.

The Spectacular Now, streaming on NetflixBased on the book by Tim Tharp, “The Spectacular Now” is the story of a charming high school senior who is a self-proclaimed “life of the party.” The film won a Voice Awards for addressing substance use issues among young adults.

Captain Fantastic, streaming for free for Amazon Prime membersA mother and father live with their six children completely off the grid in the mountains. They made the decision to live this way after the mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The film won a Voice Award for featuring a dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayal of people with mental illnesses and/or addictions.

Megan Leavey, streaming for free for Amazon Prime membersThis film is based on a true-life story of a young Marine Corporal who, with the help of her combat dog, saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. The film won a Voice Award for its portrayal of personal stories of resilience and strength of America’s service members, veterans, and their families.

The Dark Horse streaming for free for Amazon Prime membersThe Dark Horse is based on a true story of a man living with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The brilliant chess campion from New Zealand struggles and searches for the courage to lead. The film won a Voice Award for addressing mental health issues, family support, and recovery.


Still Alice – Movie portraying dementia or Alzheimer’s

Still Mine – Movie portraying dementia or Alzheimer’s

Away From Her – Movie portraying dementia or Alzheimer’s