I was looking around on TV.com the other day, trying to find out when Project Runway starts back up, when I came across a new series I hadn’t heard of yet, that had just started six weeks ago, called Mental. It’s about this guy who’s been newly appointed as the head of the psychiatric department in a hospital in L.A. . I loooove this new show! First of all, this guy is not bad looking, and has a sense of humor that reminds me of House – although it’s more playful and less cynical. He always has a smirk in his eyes and a smile on his face, he’s like a kid in a candy store. When the others see something as pathological or even worrying, he goes: “interesting”. That’s what I would do! He has very unorthodox methods, which I think is great, and luckily also has the authority to pull them through. He comes to work by bike and would rather be in the mountains than in this huge city… So many similarities!
Speaking of the “others”: there’s a cast of psychiatrists – medical doctors, not medical deities, as he has to remind them – that portray the clichés I have encountered so far. There are no psychologists. Because we all come with a cloak of invisibility, don’cha know. The two undergrads are sent on missions to actually speak to the real live relatives of the patients – omg! – instead of purely working indoors on station. There’s the very arrogant, flamboyant doctor who specializes in addiction and deals with the pharmaceutical companies, i.e. lets them use the patients for case trials, and only thinks about the money. There’s the slightly insecure, sensitive women who always wants to stick to a schedule, and then there’s the boss – a psychiatric version of Cuddy.
What I like most about this series is the fact that they approach mental illness with some reality (even though they do fib on some diagnosis). The main character sees these illnesses as riddles that have to be solved, so he tries to get in the heads of the patients and see the world through their eyes. I think it’s important to understand that these people are not “insane”, that they have problems that need – and can – be fixed. And once you know that 1 out of every 2 people develop a relevant mental problem in the course of their lifetime, you can’t look down on them anymore. I’ve watched all the episodes I could get so far – and I can’t wait to see more!