Tim Clinton on What “Joker” Teaches Us About Mental Health

Recently, the highly anticipated film “Joker” opened in theaters, and to say it prompted a strong reaction from moviegoers would be an understatement.

Even before its opening, controversy swirled around the film’s dark tenor and its portrayal of a character — Alfred Fleck, a.k.a. the “Joker” — who struggles with serious mental health issues and becomes a violent murderer.

Some critics warned the film could be a trigger to viewers who may have thoughts of harming themselves or others. In fact, fear of a movie theater shooting similar to the 2012 one in Aurora, Colorado, prompted the NYPD and other police forces to increase their security presence at select showings. The family members of the victims of the Aurora shooting even sent a letter to Warner Brothers asking the studio to advocate for gun safety ahead of the movie’s release.

On the other hand, supporters of the movie, including the film’s star Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips, argued that the aim is not to glorify violence but to start a conversation about the issue. “The movie makes statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world,” Phillips said.

Despite the controversy around it, Joker ended up earning $93.5 million over the weekend, making it the highest-grossing October release ever.

Now, whatever your opinion on the movie may be — whether you already saw it or are planning on boycotting it — I think we all have something to learn from this.

One in five adults in America lives with a mental illness. Our nation is currently living through an epidemic of suicides, drug addiction and mental health issues that have reached record levels. Mental health is one of the biggest issues in America, yet we still struggle to talk about it openly and treat it with the urgency it deserves. Because of this, many people suffer alone and in silence, and we overlook those who desperately need help and intervention. The holidays especially can be a hard and stressful season for many Americans.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Tim Clinton