Every once in a while, we do reviews about books or shows that are relevant to mental health.
We took a look at the documentary series “The Me You Can’t See.” It was executive produced by Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey, which streams on Apple TV.
Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry guide discussions about mental health and emotional well-being while opening up about their own mental health journeys and struggles.
In between those discussions, the series shows the stories of people that are living with mental health conditions. Or, alternatively, shows those that have family members that are dealing with challenges.
Among these are famous people like Glenn Close, or basketball star DeMar DeRozan. And the show also leads heavily on Prince Harry’s experiences. It’s hard not to be moved when Harry opens up about having to share the death of his mother with so many millions of people who “never even met her.” And what it was like having to behave to expectations instead of finding his own way to grieve.
Other incredibly honest and moving testimonies include that of a college student trying to open up to her mum about her depression. Or chef Rashad Armstead who relates how he internalized his struggles because of the stigma within the black community. A tough one also shows Team USA boxer Ginny Fuchs show us the reality of living with OCD and its devastating physical impact. Frankly, I am even more awed of her for competing, let alone winning.
The series is well made and designed to evoke emotions.
It certainly succeeds in bringing attention to the subject of mental health and telling the stories of the people whose lives have been shaped by it. The show repeats their goals of wanting to destigmatize, bring attention to, and normalize mental health.
Just like us, Harry believes in principles rooted in narrative therapy. As Harry says: “When you share the story… you see yourself differently and you end up helping so many more people.”
Towards the end, Oprah and Harry bring in experts that advised them on the show to have a discussion.
For me, this discussion, while valid and good comments were made, felt a bit forced. It’s as if they had put that there specifically to show that what they talked about in the show is backed by all these specialists. The stories of the people are what is so powerful. Also, with a production like Oprah’s company, don’t we already assume that they did their research?
And while the series does a good job at showing that we can all be affected by our mental health, no matter our wealth or status, what it did not allude to is the difference in access to systems and treatments that so many people face. Only Lady Gaga acknowledges her “privilege” in being able to get support when and where she needs it.
Whatever you may think about the series, the time is right for this now. Especially with many more people troubled by their mental health with everything that has happened in these last two years.
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