Opinion: Cultural confusion: the shifting line between sane and ‘unsane’

Where does sanity end and mental illness begin? It’s a shifting boundary, one based as much on culture as it is on our understanding of the brain and mental health.

The American public harbors deep collective anxieties about mental health that are continually being stirred up. Take Steven Soderbergh’s most recent film, “Unsane,” which tells the story of a woman who is committed against her will to a mental institution and becomes trapped, unable to convince anyone that she doesn’t belong there. Released in March, the trailer has garnered nearly 17 million views.

Or look at the public response to recent revelations by NBA star about his about her bipolar disorder, and about her struggle with postpartum depression. Along with a spate of new and films about mental illness, including “Unsane,” these reflect the cultural significance of mental illnesses.

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