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10 Times 'Please Like Me' Won at Representing Mental Health

Posted by Adam Horan on

If you haven't watched Please Like Me yet, stop what you're doing and put it on your schedule for your next Self-Care Sunday. A few of us here at Wear Your Label fell madly in love with the series for so many reasons. Please Like Me is an Australian comedy-drama that has a fresh perspective on homosexuality, family dynamics and of course, an impeccable representation of mental health. We see characters who live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bi Polar Disorder, self-injury and those who act as mental health allies. Please Like Me may make you curl over from laughing, weep uncomfortably and help you find a little more comfort in your own mental health struggles. 

1. The Time The Intro Song Was Perfect

The show starts off with this amazing song called I'll Be Fine by Clairy Brown and the Bangin' Rackettes and brings in the age old conversation all of us have had at one point...

"How are you?'

We all have the habit of responding to this question with a quick answer so we don't have to really delve into our feelings, especially when things really are that fine at all. The song touches the fact that the narrator may not be fine right now, but they will be. It also has an upbeat tone that makes you want to sing it as loud as possible every time you hear it.

2. The Time Josh's Dad Realized You Can't Be Depressed Because of Other People

When Rose attempts suicide the first time, Josh's dad, Alan blames himself instantly, which is something a lot of people do. He considers how sad their divorce has made Rose and voices that perhaps he is the reason she wanted to take her own life. Little does he realize, Major Depression Disorder and Bi Polar Disorder are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that if left untreated can lead to suicide. In the end, Rose's brain essentially caused her to attempt suicide. He then goes on to understand more and more about depression and what is actually going on in Rose's brain. 


3. The Time Arnold Had a REAL Panic Attack

Panic attacks are the worst, hands down, especially around loved ones or friends, or anyone in general. This happens to Arnold after he thinks he is not good enough for Josh, and shows us what panic attacks can really look like. Often times we see panic attacks portrayed with a lot of screaming, and well, panicking, which is exactly how some may experience their panic attacks, but it isn't often that we see some of the other ways panic attacks can appear in those with anxiety. He doesn't want to be touched or talked to, he just wants someone there nearby so make sure he is okay. Arnold shows us and tells us how his panic attacks affect him and helps Josh and the audience better understand his anxiety.

4. The Time Josh's Mom Got Real While Camping

Suicide is not an easy topic to talk about and it can be down right uncomfortable, but there needs to be an understanding about it: it is not a cry for attention. In the episode Scroggin in Season 3, Rose and Josh go hiking to get Rose's mind off the death of her friend Ginger. One scene brings up the uncomfortable topic of Rose's suicidal tendencies and why Josh never got mad at his mother for her attempts. The following conversation tugs at the heart strings as Rose realizes Josh would never blame her for her mental illness. This conversation is the epitome to understanding mental illness; it's not our fault we suffer. 

5. The Time We Got an Inside Look at a Psychiatric Hospital

This is something that a lot of people may have been shocked by. There were not any people sitting in the corner screaming or someone rocking back and forth staring out a window, like we have seen portrayed in the media time and time again. Don't get me wrong - mental illness affects everyone differently and some do experience similar characteristics to those that we have seen in films before, but Please Like Me gives us a fresh perspective. Through other movies and TV shows we are given the impression that psychiatric hospitals are scary and bad places, but really they are places that people go to get better. We meet characters here that are well-rounded, relatable and truly nothing to be afraid of. 



6. The Time Hannah Moved In With Rose 
Whilst in the psychiatric hospital together, Rose and Hannah become good friends despite their many differences. As neither of them find it helpful to live on their own, Rose suggests that Hannah moves in with her. The two become live-in mental health ally's for one another and have potentially the cutest friendship in the entire show.

7. The Time We Talked About Self-Injury 
*spoiler alert for those of you who haven't found Season 4 on a dark corner of the internet yet* One of our favourite characters unfortunately falls back into self-injury. Not only do we see them injure themselves, but we see the events leading up to it and how they try to hide it from their loved ones. This is important not only because it opens up the conversation about this heavily-stigmatized mental health struggle, but it also shows them doing so in an unexpected way. There are many different ways that someone may hurt themselves, the one that we see in the media is often wrists being cut, but this character hits themselves repeatedly in the ankles, causing painful bruising. 

8. The Time Clairezilla Attacked
After the gang spent weeks upon weeks making cardboard buildings for a cardboard city for no particular reason, they suggest that Claire stomp through it in a frog costume to lift her spirits. Claire, who had just had an abortion, was feeling emotionally unwell and although the majority of her friend circle didn't know why she was feeling low, they thought casting her as Clairezilla to stomp out all their buildings would be an excellent release of her feelings. Which it was. 

9. The Time Hannah Had a Birthday 
Hannah is diagnosed with severe depression and the gang loves and accepts her just the way she is. Although Josh, Ella, Tom and Arnold may be very different from Hannah, they wholeheartedly enjoy her company and never ask her to change. In episode 2 of season 4 Porridge, they bring Hannah out for her birthday for an outdoor camping trip, filled with silly string, a treasure hunt and all the nature they can handle. 


10. The Time Josh Was the Best Mental Health Ally Ever
and by "the time" we mean all the time. From literally dragging his mum out of bed to bring her to the psychiatrist to bringing the whole squad from the psychiatric hospital on a cheer-up trip to the zoo; Josh just wins at being a mental health ally.  


 Written by Addie Van Rijn and Adam Horan 


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