In this brief guide, we will discuss the 23 best movies about teenage depression, including movies about teenage depression on Netflix as well as movies about suicidal teenage depression.
Movies about teenage depression
There are many movies about teenage depression that depict realistically what depression is like as a teenager, and some of them may even give people who are suffering from depression some hope that things can get better and that they can try to seek therapy and treatment.
If you or someone you know might be depressed and might be at risk for harming themselves, please make sure that you reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, if you want you can always reach out online to the professionals at 7 cups.
Here are some of the best movies about depression.
World’s Greatest Dad
This is a movie about a man whose son dies in an autoerotic asphyxiation accident, and the dad arranges his body to make it appear as if he hung himself.
He then writes a note that claims that his son killed himself because of depression.
The father is actually the one who is suffering from depression and his depression helps him write such a convincing suicide note, showcasing the fact that he may actually have thought about it at some point, and showing how negative thoughts are always swirling around in a person’s mind.
This movie features Robin Williams, who suffered from depression and eventually lost his life to suicide, and that makes it even more poignant to watch.
Sylvia is a movie about the famous author and poet Sylvia Plath who is well known for writing literature about her depression.
“Sylvia” the movie offers excerpts from her poetry and blends them together beautifully with an exploration of her depression and relationship with her husband as well as fellow poet Ted Hughes.
Sylvia Plath suffered from depression nearly throughout her life, and she eventually lost her life to suicide at a very young age. She also suffered from severe body image issues that contributed to her depression.
Garden state is a movie that explores how much negative beliefs play a role in shaping and causing depression, which becomes a huge burden to people suffering from them.
In “Garden State” actor Andrew Largeman believes that he was responsible for the accident that after which his mother became disabled and eventually died.
This guilt has makes him indifferent and numb to many aspects of life.
The movie about teenage depression has some depictions of medication making people numb or feeling bad, which is not true, and this part of the movie should not be considered accurate at all.
The movie also has a great representation of what happens when someone goes off their medication on their own instead of in a systematic way with the help of a professional.
Little Miss Sunshine
This movie about depression is an award winner and it demonstrates how depression can be a family thing, being passed down from parents to the younger generation.
In Little Miss Sunshine, nearly all of the members of the family seem to struggle with some form of depression.
They are often seen lashing out at one another due to their mental health burdens and depression often causes them to say mean things to each other, which only worsens their condition.
The youngest daughter is the only one that is not suffering from the disorder, and watching her family crumble around her all the time gives her insights into clinical depression.
“Girl, Interrupted” has become something of a cult classic in the category of movies about teenage depression and mental illness in general.
This movie is about a mental illness institution where patients suffering from severe problems are admitted. It features not only depression but other mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis as well.
This movie about depression has been hailed as an amazing work of art and is recommended for anyone that may be looking for an insight into what mental illness looks like in its most severe form.
This movie also contains themes of suicide and what severe depression can look like in some people.
Pump up the volume
Pump up the volume features Christian Slater as an angsty pirate radio DJ, Mark Hunter, and his devoted listener who is portrayed as the stereotypical overachieving daddy’s girl Paige Woodward.
Some information about the girl sends shocks through the entire school though, when they find out that despite her outward appearance, she is miserable, and possibly suffering from depression.
“Sixteen candles” is yet another classic that is seen as an iconic coming of age movie, as well as a movie about teenage problems like sadness and depression.
This movie revolves around one day in a girl’s life, her sixteenth birthday.
It showcases all the things that go wrong in her life that day and how she tries to cope with them in her teenage manner.
Winona Ryder plays a goth teen with depression very well in this movie by Tim Burton, which has also been hailed as one of the best movies about teenage depression and a classic in general.
There is a particularly moving scene that tackles the subject of suicide and depression where she tries to write a suicide note, and exclaims with dramatic self-deprecation, showing the classic symptom of depression, low self-worth, “I am alone. I am utterly alone.”
Welcome to the Dollhouse
This is an indie movie about teenage depression that explores the subjects of sex and puberty and all the challenges that come with it.
It may be a trigger, however, as it features mentions of rape and deals with some pretty sensitive topics that revolve around sex, so if you feel uncomfortable with that subject matter, please check out some summaries and trailers first.
Ghost world features a stereotypical, despondent teen who finds it particularly hard to do things and who finds it hard to deal with the other teenagers around her, commenting at one point “I just hate all these extroverted, obnoxious, pseudo-bohemian losers.”
Depression can often manifest during the teenage years in the form of angst or hatred for other people, and maybe seen more in terms of externalizing behavior rather than internalized like in adults.
The Virgin Suicides
Sofia Coppola features in this film about a family of sisters living under their parents’ martial law.
The parents are shown to be overly protective, and this leads to a lot of retaliation and eventually mass suicide.
This movie about teenage depression also deals with the problems with authoritarian parenting and how bad it can get, especially when teenagers are involved.
Winona Ryder features in this 1990s movie about teenage depression.
She is a character that hates her friends but feels compelled to be a part of their group because she is afraid to be alone.
Her unhappiness eventually turns into rage when she gets into a relationship with a new boy in school and the two ends up going on an “accidental” killing spree.
This movie about teenage depression also deals with the theme of teenage suicide man.
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is another classic that is recommended by all major lists about good movies in the world. It is a movie about a character known as Ally Sheedy, who is struggling with feelings of low mood and confusion in odd ways.
However, it explores the theme of how good peer support can be when dealing with something like depression.
Splendor in the Grass
Natalie Wood features a young woman in “Splendor in the Grass” which is a movie about teenage depression but also explores the concept of erotomania.
The lead becomes disturbingly obsessed with her boyfriend Bud (Warren Beatty), and when he cheats on her she loses all control and has to be institutionalized.
Movies about teenage depression on Netflix
Here are some of the most recommended movies about depression on Netflix currently.
The Spectacular Now
While this movie is not the typical movie about teenage depression, it does have undertones of depression beneath the romantic parts.
This movie explores the problematic things that almost all teenagers go through, fitting in, college pressures, career stress, and forming your unique self-identity.
That transition from high school to college is tough for everyone, but it’s even more difficult when you’re experiencing other issues like a long-distance relationship.
The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones is an incredibly sad movie that can get very depressing.
It is the story of a girl who after she has been murdered by a neighbor, watches as her family attempts to track down the murderer and cope with her death.
To the Bone
This is a Netflix original film that illustrates a woman’s battle with anorexia.
While this is not strictly a movie about teenage depression, it does explore the themes of mental illness and undertones of low mood and some symptoms of depression can be seen in some parts.
Charlie St. Cloud
Charlie St. Cloud is a great movie about teenage depression and the themes of love and attraction that make up most teenage dramas.
It tells the story of teenage sailor Charlie St. Cloud, who has to choose between keeping a promise to his younger brother who has died or pursuing a relationship with Amanda Crew’s character.
This movie deals with themes like fat-shaming, body image problems, social conventions, and getting over the grief of losing a loved one.
Dumplin’ examines the relationship between an overweight teenager and her mother who is a former beauty queen and currently manages pageants. It also looks at peer relationships and features some great actors and actresses, including Jennifer Aniston.
Hope Springs Eternal
Mia Rose Frampton in this movie about teenage depression plays Hope Gracin, who has gained a following as a result of her cancer diagnosis.
But now that struggles to realize her own identity when her test results show she’s in remission, and she and has trouble gaining the confidence to tell the world and possibly losing the recognition she has gained.
Another great Netflix original movie about teenage depression and forming your own unique identity is Roxanne Roxanne, which tells the story of a young rap sensation.
The rap battle is only one side of her struggle, as we also see her struggle and try to survive the tough streets of her Queensbridge Projects neighborhood.
Stephen Baldwin and Amy Lyndon star in this film about a small suburban town where a local teenager dies of a drug overdose and the chaos and aftermath that follows.
It explores some serious issues like substance use and abuse in teenagers and just how harmful it can be.
In this brief guide, we discussed the 25 best movies about teenage depression, including movies about teenage depression on Netflix as well as movies about suicide and teenage depression.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Movies about teenage depression
What were popular movies during the Great Depression?
Popular movies during the great depression were 42nd Street, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and King Kong. Comedies were popular films in the 1930s.
Does watching movies help depression?
Yes, watching movies can help depression. It is a pleasurable activity and finding characters to relate to might help with some of the low mood.
Your depression may take a back seat and it can help you focus.
Can movies cause depression?
No, movies can not cause depression, however, if you are sensitive to particular themes like suicide or self-harm, watching certain movies can be very hard for you.
While it is not documented, it has been seen that the end of big things like a long tv show can trigger depression in some people. In 2009, some Avatar fans reported feeling depressed and even suicidal because they found it hard to deal with that the movie’s fictional world wasn’t real.
What is the main cause of depression among youth?
One of the main causes of depression among the youth is usually academic pressures that take a toll on young people trying to form a unique self-identity as well.
Other than this, many factors increase the risk of developing or triggering teen depression, like, issues that negatively impact self-esteem, such as peer problems as obesity, bullying, or academic problems. Abuse is another reason that can cause depression among youth.