‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Is Helping Erase the Stigmas Surrounding Therapy and Mental Health

As one of the world’s longest-running and most popular television medical dramas, Grey’s Anatomy is no stranger to creating conversations about tough topics.

Over the years, Grey’s Anatomy has tackled everything from suicide to child loss, with fans following along for every emotional scene and touching bit of dialogue.

Recently, fans took to Reddit to discuss the way that the show has been dealing with mental health issues in recent years, and how the series has been breaking down major barriers in the way that therapy is addressed on television. 

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is a critically-acclaimed medical drama

GIACOMO GIANNIOTTI, ELLEN POMPEO
GIACOMO GIANNIOTTI, ELLEN POMPEO | Gilles Mingasson/ABC via Getty Images

Grey’s Anatomy premiered on ABC in 2005. The brainchild of Shonda Rhimes, the writer and producer behind a plethora of successful shows, Grey’s Anatomy made waves right away due to the incredible cast of talented actors.

The series focused on the residents, staff, and medical professionals who work at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. At the forefront of it all is Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, and her journey through life and love, all while she works to save lives.

Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong to this day, creating new storylines and characters to thrill viewers with each successive season. The series has won many awards and commendations over the years, including dozens of Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as recognition for individual actors.

Grey’s Anatomy is now in its seventeenth season and is showing no signs that it will be going off the air anytime soon. 

The show focuses on mental health as well as physical health

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The primary focus of the show is on the doctor-patient relationships that form between those who enter Seattle Grace Hospital, and the often complicated measures that doctors have to resort to in order to save lives.

It has become a long-running joke among fans that Grey’s Anatomy tends to feature very dramatic and rare illnesses in the name of exciting television but in recent years, the show has been turning a little closer to home, highlighting patients who suffer from mental disorders. 

A 2019 storyline received particular acclaim for the way that it handled trauma counseling, in particular, focusing on EMDR, a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Critics and fans alike praised the sensitive, intelligent way that therapy and counseling was written into the context of the series.

Fortunately for fans who appreciated the new series direction, it doesn’t look as though Grey’s Anatomy will be backing down from tackling such issues anytime soon. 

What do fans say about how ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ tackles mental health?

In a recent Reddit thread, fans talked about the progressive way that Grey’s Anatomy has dealt with the subject of therapy and mental health. One fan pointed out how Meredith Grey is one character who has definitely benefited from therapy over the years.

“I loved the fact that they showed her getting therapy and actually working for her mental health and wellbeing, and seeing the change in her afterward, which didn’t happen overnight, like in many other shows.”

Another fan agreed, stating that “I so agree! Even though it took me until last year, I know that watching that play out (and seeing the others interact with therapists on the show) helped take some of the stigma away for me, which is the goal!”

Certainly, Grey’s Anatomy has earned acclaim in past seasons for the empathetic way that characters deal with controversial characters — so it seems likely that showrunners will continue down the same progressive path for future episodes.