Recommendations

2018-2019 Top Picks!

These are our 2018-2019 Top Picks that portray mental health issues with compassion and accuracy.  The following are endorsed by Julie Ridge, LCSW-R, President and Founder. (last updated: April, 2019)

TOP BROADWAY and Off- Broadway SHOWS of 2018!

  • Still on Top!  “Dear Evan Hansen.” Winner of SIX 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. A teenager wrought with social anxiety becomes an unwitting high school hero after the suicide of a classmate. This intimate musical touches on the delicacy of parenting, the all-consuming creature known as the internet, and our desperate need for connection.  Few Broadway shows, least of all musicals, are as psychologically accurate or strike as powerful an emotional chord as “Dear Evan Hansen.” 
  • Addy & Uno,” for children of all ages.  Puppets and people with all manner of disability from AD/HD to autism, to blindness, to hearing impairment.  Sweet songs, talented cast, stigma busting.  Playing off-Broadway on 42nd Street Theater Row.
  • The completely original new musical “Come From Away.”  When US air space was shut down in the days immediately following 9/11, one tiny town, Gander, Newfoundland, population 9,000, opened their arms to 7,000 stranded travelers. This musical tells the tale of heart-melting generosity and the kindness of strangers – sheer resilience in the face of tragedy and trauma. “Come From Away” is playing at the Schoenfeld Theater.

BEST MOVIES of 2018-2019!

  • Suicide the Ripple Effect,” a documentary featuring Kevin Hines, a man who survived his Golden Gate Bridge jump.  Inspirational, heartfelt and loving depiction of a man living well with bipolar and his miraculous recovery.  Featured at the 2019 Annual International ReelAbilities Film Festival.
  • Beautiful Boy” starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet.  Based on the true stories penned by father and son, this movie takes an intimate look inside the world of addiction  through a loving father’s eyes as his beautiful son struggles against the disease of addiction.  Bring hankies.  This one is Academy bound!
  • A Private War” based on the extraordinary life of Marie Colvin (portrayed by Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike), one of the most celebrated war correspondents of all time. A deep, wrenching, honest portrayal of war up close and personal, PTSD and addiction. Pike delivers an Academy Award worthy performance.
  • Robin Williams: come inside my mind” a documentary.  This personal, loving, funny doc delves into the genius of Williams, his struggles with addiction, mania and Lewy Body disease.
  • What they Had” starring Blythe Danner.  A subtle gem depicting a gentle loving portrayal of dementia and loss.
  • A Star is Born” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.  This remake of the classic film touches addiction with a greater realism in that Cooper has disclosed his own struggles with addiction.  Cooper directed and wrote many of the original songs. And he sings.  A new kind of triple threat!
  • MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 11th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, Celebrating Different Abilities through Film, April 2 – 9, 2019.  Learn more at reelabilities.org/newyork.  I had the honor of being on the film selection committee again this year – this year’s picks are off the charts!!

Best Television in 2018:

  • New Amsterdam” a brand new hospital series.  The psychiatry unit and psychiatrist are portrayed with accuracy and compassion.  The disorders profiled are real and honestly depicted as well. Hooray!
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” starring Rachel Bloom is in it’s final season – so binge watch it now!  All portrayals of mental illnesses and mental health professionals are accurate and compassionate.  It helps that the series star Rachel Bloom is open about her own mental health conditions and a powerful advocate.  Bloom is a true testament that we can live extremely well with mental illnesses through awareness and understanding.
  • Young Sheldon,” growing up Asperger’s – the prequel to the Big Bang Theory.
  • Law & Order SVU” continues to address mental health conditions reliably and compassionately.
  • This is Us” isn’t just great tv and a multiple Emmy Award winner – it touches on a myriad of mental health issues including: PTSD, addiction, binging, and this season – major depressive disorder.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” doesn’t feature any mental health disorders.  But it will make you laugh until you can’t breath and chase away the blues.  Binge and enjoy!  You’ll thank me later.

Favorite Book discoveries of the year:

  • Cracked but not Broken,” by Kevin Hines, c. 2013.  A moving, raw and real memoir by a man who survived his Golden Gate Bridge jump.  A book for anyone who has ever considered suicide, lost a loved one to suicide or whose life has been touched by suicide.
  • A Long Way Home,” by Saroo Brierly, c. 2013.  An incredible journey of resilience and fortitude beautifully told by the boy who lived it.  Made into the major motion picture “Lion” starring the incredible Dev Patel.
  • To Siri with Love,” a mother’s ode to her child with autism, by Judith Newman.  Newman captures the very human side of the struggle of navigating the world for her son, on an NYC budget.  Punctuated with heart and humor.  A great read.  c. 2017.
  • Marbles, mania, depression, Michelangelo & me,” by Ellen Forney.  In this dazzling graphic novel Forney captures life inside bipolar, the doubts and questions, and the long winding road to balance.  c. 2014. 

Ongoing best website:

www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org. The Treatment Advocacy Center, founded by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, one of the world’s foremost research psychiatrists, specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His web site provides a plethora of global information and resources on all mental health conditions.