4 pitfalls to avoid when writing about mental illness

Sarah Kay Moll

Edvard_Munch_-_Despair_(1894)“Despair” – Edvard Munch

Writing characters with mental illnesses can be a challenge. Authors must do some amount of research to be sure they’re representing the experience in a compassionate, honest, and believable way. Here are five things to keep in mind when writing mental illness.

1. Avoid a magical recovery

Books and movies about mental illness often end the same way. The person finds the right type of help, or makes a mental breakthrough, and they’re now on the road to recovery, which is portrayed as such a steady and even journey that it’s not worth spending any time on.

This is rarely the case. The road back to sanity is long and grueling. There’s rarely a single moment of epiphany that sets someone on the way to being “all better.” Recovery is hard work, and each person’s path is different. In fact…

2. Not everyone recovers

Mental illnesses come in…

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