Danya Institute Inc.

Mental Health

The Full Story – Soften the Fck Up

This video features a group of Australian men describing their mental health experiences and feelings. The focus of the video is men’s mental health, and as the title suggests, it encourages breaking from the widely accepted stereotype that males need to be mentally tough, keep their feelings to themselves, and not ask for help. These men counter this stereotype and urge viewers to do the same. This encouraging video is a part of a media campaign: http://softenthefckup.wearespur.com/.  Although this video contains some harsh language, both boys and men should see it. Individuals who work with students would likely find it suitable for them despite (or even because of) the language. (00:07:23)

Does Laughter Improve Your Mental Health?

In this brief clip from the documentary “No Kidding, Me 2!” (2010), Dr. Blaise Aguirre explains why laughing is good for your brain. This video is available on the No Kidding? Me Too! YouTube channel. (00:00:38).

What is Mental Health?

Dr. Mike Condra explains the term “mental health” in all of its complexity in a short, animated video. He makes it a point to distinguish between blissful happiness and contentment and also describes three attributes of mentally healthy people. He then describes mental illness in simple, informative terms. This video is appropriate for any audience. Dr. Condra is Queens University’s Director of Health, Counseling and Disability Services. Additional mental health resources are available from this university department at www.bewell-dowell.org. (00:05:33)

Rethink BPD: Amanda Wang’s Story

Amanda Wang is a boxer and a graphic designer. She also suffers from borderline personality disorder. This educational and inspiring video subtly tackles stigma while showing how Amanda struggles to regulate intense emotions, learns to validate her worth, and works toward her goal of becoming a golden gloves fighter. A shortened version of Amanda’s story is available on NAMI’s YouTube channel (NAMIvideo) in the form of a PSA. This video, which weaves themes of self-worth, value, and meaning throughout, would be great for any audience as a great discussion starter for many topics of mental health. www.rethinkbpd.com is Amanda’s website to raise awareness about borderline personality disorder. (00:08:17)

Living with ADHD

This short video features parents and adults describing either their experiences of having a child with ADHD or having ADHD themselves. Each interviewee offers a different bit of insight into the disorder. This hopeful video would be great for a discussion about the reality of living with ADHD, especially given the controversy regarding the disorder’s validity. This video was created by NAMI and is available on their YouTube channel NAMIvideo. (00:02:21)

What does depression feel like?

This very short clip features one woman’s answer to a question many people wonder about: What does depression feel like? She speaks to the concept of resiliency and recognizes in hindsight that depression felt like an absence of resiliency to life crises. This video would be a great way to get an insider’s look into depression and is appropriate for all adult audiences, whether clients, clinicians, or the general public. The video was created by NAMI and is available on their YouTube channel NAMIvideo. (00:00:55)

Power of Peers

This video begins with a discussion about the movement in recent years toward recovery- and peer-oriented services and away from institutionalization and isolation in the mental health field. At (00:02:11) the video begins highlighting individuals who have gone through challenges with the mental health system. We learn how they have benefited from the move to an emphasis on natural supports, reintegration into the community, and personalized recovery. It might be useful to browse the video for specific stories that resonate with you or your clients. This video is presented by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN) and is available on their YouTube channel gmhcn. (00:18:10)

Demi Lovato’s Speech: SAMHSA’s 2013 National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

As the 2013 honorary chairperson at the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Actress Demi Lovato speaks about her personal experiences with body image issues, mental illness, and substance abuse. She discusses stigma and the fear that diagnosis would define her and result in losing her career. Lovato emphasizes the importance of listening to and spending time with young people who are struggling with mental health issues. She suggests that her motivation to speak out about her struggles came from the fan mail and messages she receives from young people who may be facing similar issues. This video could spark a discussion about how individuals close to these young people could make themselves more approachable and provide better support at home. Lovato’s speech ends at 00:05:58. This video is available on SAMHSA’s official YouTube channel, which features a variety of videos dedicated to substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues. (00:07:08)

I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression

This highly effective cartoon video uses the analogy of a persistent, large black dog to illustrate the experience of depression, which can be difficult to describe in literal terms. This video would be a useful precursor to a discussion about depression between professionals and would also be helpful for people seeking to understand their own depression and communicate what it feels like to friends and family. It was created by the World Health Organization and is available on the WHO YouTube page. (00:04:19)


In this incredibly moving video, we meet a Marquette student involved in the production of “Pieces,” a show created by students for NAMI to raise awareness about mental illness. The production itself is powerful; however, the personal account of the student who plays the role of “schizophrenia” in the show, while painful to watch, is truly inspiring. Off stage, he describes how his brother’s schizoaffective disorder has affected his family. This video could stimulate discussion on stigma and mental illness, and could possibly serve as a model for those looking to involve young people in a mental health cause. This public service journalism project was initiated by the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University and is available at http://diederich.marquette.edu/COC/community-mentalhealth.aspx. (00:09:02)

Neil Hilborn, “OCD”: Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam Finalist

In this beautiful clip, Neil Hilborn recites his poem about having a romantic relationship while living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam Contest. This video would be great to spark a discussion on the topic of OCD and would also be effective in a talk on mental health in general. Hilborn sends a clear message that love and intimacy have the power to break down even the most rigid walls. This video is available on the Button Poetry YouTube channel. (00:02:52)

TED: All Kinds of Minds

This collection of nine Ted Talks titled All Kinds of Minds features some of the biggest names in mental health. Although each lecturer speaks to a different aspect of mental illnesses, each spreads a message of acceptance, destigmatization, ability, and recovery.

First, legal scholar Elyn Saks tells her riveting story of schizophrenia and her initial reluctance to accept help for the disorder (00:14:52). Next, Temple Grandin talks about the autistic mind and its great advantages, disadvantages and implications for children on the spectrum as the job market shifts (00:19:43). Eleanor Longden, doctoral student of psychology , tells her story of being thrown off guard by first hearing voices in college and pointing to her tendency to nullify her own emotions from childhood trauma as the source of those voices. Longden talks about how she learned to understand her own emotions through cooperating with the voices (00:14:17). Comedian Ruby Wax discusses the stigma of mental illness with specific focus on the brain and its implications in the 21st century (00:08:44).

Former surgeon and now published author Sherwin Nuland talks about the advances in electroshock therapy and how it helped to cure his life-threatening depression (00:22:18). Comedian Joshua Walters talks about bipolar disorder and its link to creativity as a performer himself (00:05:51). Next, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test talks about the test and the pervasiveness of the psychopath personality trait in the everyday population (00:18:01). Oliver Sacks gives a detailed and riveting description of visual and musical hallucinations that often occur in the elderly population with whom he works (00:18:48). And last, violinist Robert Gupta tells the story of a fellow musician with schizophrenia whom he played with over the years as he explains how “music is medicine ” from a neurological standpoint (00:09:26).

Sources for more short videos on MENTAL HEALTH