Why Netflix’s ‘The Bird Box’ Severely Increases the Stigma of Mental Illness

I was so excited to watch Netflix’s new original series, “The Bird Box” with Sandra Bullock. The premise surrounds the idea that a mysterious force begins to destroy humanity–if you see this entity, which reveals your biggest fear, you die. To survive people must cover their eyes or be blindfolded while searching for help. The movie follows Sandra Bullock and her two children on a dangerous journey towards finding a safe place. Not even halfway through the movie, it is revealed that people with mental illness, or the “criminally insane” are unaffected by these entities.

The movie makes it look like the mentally ill are one and the same as the demonic virus that is causing millions of people to kill themselves. The movie alludes to the idea that not only would people who are “mentally insane” not help others, but they would go one step further to turn against humans and join forces with the evil entity. It is ridiculous and severely increases the stigma of mental illness that so many advocates spend every day fighting against.

I am not a blogger who enjoys going on rants but after viewing “The Bird Box” I felt I was obligated as a person living with bipolar disorder to speak out. I am completely offended by this movie for its negative portrayal of people living with a mental illness. The main myths that the film exaggerates are: People with a mental illness are violent, people with a mental illness are demonic, people with a mental illness have no morals, etc.

Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent, and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a severe mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

Mental Health Myths and Facts MentalHealth.gov

In 2019, a period where we should be working towards reducing stigma, movies like “The Bird Box” do a complete injustice to the community and instills a deep fear in viewers of people living with mental illness.

We are not characters to be portrayed in scary movies for views. The movie, “The Bird Box” shows the inability of creators to think outside of the box.