Movie poster from the movie "Smile" from IMDB

“Smile” or Not

In “Smile” viewers are taken on a journey that shows how society ignores mental illness and the struggles it takes for people to find help.

The movie “Smile,” has a 79% audience rating on Rotton Tomatoes. In the movie, we are introduced to Dr. Rose Cotter, played by Sosie Bacon, who works in the emergency psychiatric unit of a hospital.

The movie is classified as a psychological horror, in which Dr. Cotter witnesses traumatic events involving her patients. The events affect her so much that it haunts her throughout her life.

Dr. Ctooter meets with a patient, who had seen her professor commit suicide with a smile on his face, and is incredibly distraught. Dr. Rose did not believe her client at first when she told her “Nobody believes me, they think I’m crazy.” Rose looked at her patient as if she were insane as well.

There is a connection between this movie and mental health. People who suffer from mental illnesses do not get the help they need. It is those people who get ridiculed and thrown into the system. They do not take the time to sit down and get to know these people or what they are going through.

According to Dr. David Susman’s “8 Reasons Why People Don’t Get Treatment For Mental Illness, approximately 30%-80% of people with mental health issues simply cannot get treatment due to fear and shame, lack of insight, limited awareness, feelings of inadequacy, distrust, hopelessness, unavailability, and practical barriers.”

As a result of society‘s teachings, the people of the world usually consider these people crazy. Mentally ill people often turn to drugs and alcohol because they have been told to “seek help” but have not because they could not. They were told to “pray about it” or “turn to God” but they “must be patient.”

For Rose to believe that what her patient went through was real, she had to experience it for herself.

According to Mental Health America, approximately 27 million adult Americans suffer from mental illnesses without receiving treatment. Approximately 24.7% have reported that they have a mental illness but are not receiving treatment. Many people who need help are actively seeking it and being rejected. This country refuses admission to approximately 12.2 million adults. Eventually, if drugs and alcohol do not help, they turn to self-harm.

After becoming possessed, Dr. Cotter experienced this firsthand. Nobody believed her, everyone looked at her like she was crazy. She was even turned away by her family and her therapist. She even trusted her partner but all he did was look at her like she was crazy. Rose turned to her ex, at first, he did not believe her, but he eventually came around when it was too late.

Like most people with mental health issues, most of their trauma stems from their childhood. The root cause of all her trauma came from when she was a little girl. She was the one that found her mum lying in her bed lifeless. Rose never moved on from the death of her mother, she just shoved it down and sat on it. Most people with mental illnesses usually sit on their trauma and do not reflect on it, nor do they try to figure out how to grow from it. When they deal with it, they usually do not go the right way about it.

At the end of the movie, Rose must deal with the complicated relationship with her mother and her past. Rose asked the right questions and tried to go about everything the right way, but nobody would listen to her. The only person that did try and hear her out came around too late. Rose thought she was alone that entire time. She had nobody in her corner, so like most who feel they have nobody around, she took herself out of the equation.

As a society, we need to do better when it comes to mental health. This movie showed us a lot about what happens when we do not take people who have mental illnesses seriously. This movie has so many layers to it when it comes to trauma and how that tie into mental health illnesses. In the first instance, someone tried to seek help for their issue but did not receive it. The repercussions of that were then seen. As a result, we were able to see the onset of trauma. We had a chance to see how people with mental health issues deal with trying to find help. Rose was considered insane and ended up leaving everyone’s life because of her awful behavior.

There was not much help for her; it seemed they did not want to help her. All they did was push her away when she needed them the most. Then, we saw what hardships she went through to receive any ounce of support. The person she never expected to help her was the one that did but reached out when it was too late.

Lastly, we saw what it is like for people with mental illnesses when they do not feel they have anyone besides them. As a result, they take matters into their own hands.

This movie is a prime example of what not to do. With the rise in diagnosed mental illness, we should be open to the people around us. Offering some support, or even just listening makes a difference.

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