The film is a captivating portrayal of a society which turns its back on the less fortunate and the mentally ill.
Phoenix’s character Arthur Fleck is at the centre of that world, alone and misunderstood.
In one poignant scene he is seen scribbling the words, “the worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to act as if you don’t.”
It’s a thought provoking statement and one that seems to have more than an ounce of truth about it. Research has found that one in four people in the UK will delay getting help for a mental health problem because of misconceptions around mental illness1.
One of the most common misconceptions is that violence is linked to mental health, according to Time in Change, over a third of the UK population think people with a mental health issue are likely to be violent2. In truth, people with severe mental illnesses are more likely to be victims, rather than perpetrators of crime.
While the film shines a light on many important issues around mental illness it is guilty of perpetrating that stereotype, as Phoenix’s character angrily turns on the society which he feels is mocking him.
This is far from the only fallacy surrounding mental health and senior occupational physician at BHSF, David Poots feels it’s time a few myths were busted: “One misconception is that having a mental health problem is a sign of weakness. For someone to share their feelings and concerns with even just one person, takes extreme courage and strength. Absolutely anyone can experience a mental health problem, it does not make you weak.
“Mental health doesn’t affect me is another misconception. We all have physical health as well as mental health. Our mental health can move from good to poor on a daily basis and anything from relationships, financial concerns and work, can have an effect on our mental health.
“Due to the nature of mental health and stigmas associated with it, people can feel isolated and on their own with no support. But support is out there with charities working hard to offer care and support to mentally ill people on a daily basis. Opening up to family and friends can also help people to overcome mental illness.
“We all have a part in raising awareness of mental health and helping people who need support.”