Handled well, storylines involving mental illness provide an opportunity for sensitive, engaging and powerful material. Handled poorly, storylines can have harmful effects, perpetuating the stigma associated with mental illness and reducing the likelihood that those with mental illness will seek appropriate help.- MindFrame for Stage and Screen
Using the guidelines outlined in the resource book, Mental Illness and Suicide: A Mindframe resource for stage and screen, CheckPoint provides expert advice to the games and tech industries. This can be targeted toward narrative design, art, game development, media and more, and will be tailored by both mental health professionals and game developers to ensure the guidance provided is not only accurate and useful, but implementable. Please contact us to arrange a workshop.
Quick Guide to Mental Illness Representation
Why are you introducing mental illness into the story? Consider plot devices, character credibility and necessity.
Will your portrayal be fresh and original? Consider the whole human context of the person living with a mental illness, their relationships, work, goals and ambitions.
Are you perpetuating or challenging common stereotypes? A person with mental illness does not need to be evil, nor does the evil character need to have a mental illness.
Choose accurate and respectful language that separates a person from their diagnosis (e.g. a person is ‘living with’ or ‘has a diagnosis of’ mental illness). Take care not to stigmatise mental illness by use of colloquialisms or terminology out of context.
Can you improve the accuracy and authenticity of your portrayal? Take time to research the details of each mental illness that is portrayed to ensure representations are accurate.
Can the storyline model or promote help-seeking behaviour? Including phone numbers and contact details for services at the end of a piece (or as part of it) provides immediate support for those who may be prompted to seek assistance.