Depression Movies and Videos You Have to See

Depression movies and videos are powerful tools for depression healing. Learn why movie therapy is effective, and discover must-see depression films.

Imagine watching depression movies as a form of therapy. When you’re living with major depression, watching films about this often-debilitating illness just might help you. Far from keeping you mired in despair, depression movies can be a tool to help you through. Known as movie therapy, cinematherapy, or film therapy, experiencing videos about depression is an active, and often enjoyable, way to deal with your illness. Here’s a look at movie therapy and a list of depression movies and videos that are must-sees.

Benefits of Film Therapy and Watching Depression Movies

Movies are an all-encompassing experience. They immerse people in a story and the characters because they engage multiple aspects of the brain. Language, visual imagery, special effects, music and sound effects reach the whole person. Movies offer a unique experience of enhancing thinking while simultaneously pulling people out of their own thoughts. Also, movies evoke strong feelings that can lead to catharsis and relief.

Movies about depression offer many benefits to people who live with the illness as well as those who do not. Depression videos gift people with:

  • A safe way to talk about their own experiences, in the context of a story and its characters
  • Increased understanding about the mental illness and empathy for people living with it (including yourself)
  • Enhanced insight about themselves, others, and depression itself
  • New perspectives on external events that contribute to their negative thoughts and emotions
  • Glimpses into how others solve problems and heal from depression
  • A deeper sense of connection with others who are experiencing major depression
  • Hope

Sometimes, movie-watching is incorporated into therapy. A counselor might assign a depression movie as homework, and client and counselor will discuss aspects of the film during the next session. Other times, people watch depression movies on their own or with a loved one not as homework but simply to relax and enjoy. Either way, people can grow from watching videos about depression.

Some Must-See Depression Movies to Help You Deal with Depression

A plethora of depression movies exist, which is an indication of just how prevalent and problematic major depression is. This list contains some movies that are especially poignant and powerful in how they speak to and inspire people.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Much more of a film about depression and despair so deep that a businessman with a family feels that he can no longer live than it is a Christmas film (it is that, too, and a good one), It’s a Wonderful Life speaks to viewers deeply. It helps us understand pain, humanity, despair, and, ultimately, hope and transcendence.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
Suffering from depression, a high school teen stays in a psychiatric hospital. The audience learns lessons and gains perspectives along with this relatable young man.

Cake (2014)
Loss: traumatic loss of her son, later loss of her marriage, loss of her sense of self, and loss of freedom from pain and addiction to painkillers plague a woman, consuming her, and making her angry and depressed. Viewers relate to her and simultaneously like and dislike her, which makes the film so compelling.

Outstanding Depression Videos Worth Watching

Like depression movies, videos reach the whole person and inspire deeper understanding and empathy toward yourself and others. They offer insights and new perspective on the illness as well as overcoming it. While movies are typically fiction, depression videos are often non-fiction. They involve real people dealing with their real illness.

Some depression videos to watch:

A Day in the Life of Depression (2016). In less than two minutes, you may feel that someone has finally accomplished what you’ve been hoping for for a long time: Someone gets it; they understand you and what you’re feeling. Short snippets from real people suffering from depression plus valuable resources and information at the end make this short depression video one to watch more than once.

Real people open up about their experience with depression. They share insights, new perspectives, motivation, and inspiration. Because they’re people actually living with depression, the motivations are genuine, not hollow. This shows the despair and hope of people with depression mixed into one film.

What People with Depression Want You to Know. (2016)
Depression is difficult. It’s hard enough for someone living with depression to describe it to themselves, let alone explain it to others. Yet expressing your struggles is an important part of understanding what you’re going through. In this depression video, people share deep thoughts and feelings, revealing what they need: understanding, open minds and hearts, and compassion.

Depression movies and videos offer much in the way of understanding, empathy, perspectives, and inspiration. You might find that adding movie therapy to your treatment approach helps you persevere and overcome depression.

article references

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2022, January 4). Depression Movies and Videos You Have to See, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: January 11, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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