How BoJack Horseman Depicts Mental Illness Right

How BoJack Horseman Depicts Mental Illness Right

How BoJack Horseman Depicts Mental Illness Right. The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

BoJack Horseman is an animated television series on Netflix, which is sometimes referred to as the depressed talking horse head show. The series follows the funny and dramatic journey of its title character and former TV star, as he struggles to make sense of his life and changing career in Hollywood. What’s unique about BoJack Horseman is the realistic way the tv show depicts mental health challenges

Watching a television show and seeing an accurate depiction of someone going through a mental health challenge can be relatable, which can helps anyone feel less alone. Yet, it’s important to remember that while seeing mental illness depicted accurately on TV can be helpful, it’s not a substitute for therapy. It’s also important to know there are many forms of therapy that can result in a successful outcome, many kinds can even be accessed online. 



To learn more about finding a therapy format that works for you, check out BetterHelp’s resources on therapy modalities: www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/successful-therapy-finding-a-therapeutic-modality-that-works-for-you/

While watching a television show might not initially seem like a positive way to explore mental health, let’s take a closer look at what BoJack Horseman gets right about the experience of mental illness. 

When Hollyhock Experiences Social Anxiety Disorder

A notable example from the comedy show’s six-season run is a scene showing the character Hollyhock experiencing signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and the way she receives help for it. 

The scene begins when Hollyhock attends a party. She soon begins to experience symptoms of social anxiety disorder. It’s then made worse when another character emphasizes the fact that Hollyhock doesn’t know anyone at the party. This is a dramatization of negative thoughts a person experiencing social anxiety could be having in such a situation, which makes it even more relatable. 

Hollyhock then starts to get short of breath and hyperventilate, which are realistic symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Then another partygoer sees what she’s going through, and he intervenes by notifying her she’s having an anxiety attack. 

Her kind, new friend goes on to instruct her to: “Look around the room, and tell me what you see!” At this point, Hollyhock’s fellow partygoer is talking her through a classic grounding exercise. Grounding exercises are techniques used to help connect people back to the present moment and center themselves in their body, which can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. 

Hollyhock follows his verbal instructions and begins describing seeing people and things at the party. Gradually, as she goes down the list of things she sees at the party, we can hear the anxiousness leaving her voice and her breathing becoming more regular. 

“You feel any calmer?” He asks? Hollyhock responds that she does feel better. He goes on to explain that it’s a “trick” he learned from his psychiatrist. It’s kind of him to relate that he also suffers from anxiety and goes to a therapist for treatment, which would help anyone in that situation feel less alone. 

In this scene from BoJack Horseman, we see not only the teaching of a specific therapeutic technique, it’s also a positive to see someone engaged in therapy who’s getting help and passing their experiences along to help others. View the scene from BoJack Horseman to watch it unfold. 

In conclusion

We can get a lot of positive information from viewing the right kinds of TV and movies. Seeing someone experiencing a mental condition can help us feel less alone in our own mental health journey. 


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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