Published: 10th May 2021

U, PG and 12 rated films to watch for Mental Health Awareness Week

This Mental Health Awareness Week we're shining a light on U, PG and 12A/12 rated films that show sensitive and thoughtful portrayals of mental health.

We know that film can be a good springboard for starting conversations with your children about their emotions and well-being. That’s why we’ve put together this list of films that discuss mental health themes.

You can also take a look at BBC Bitesize’s resources on mental health and check out the charity Mind, who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health issues.

Inside Out

very mild threat

Inside Out is an animated feature about the emotions inside an 11-year-old girl's head - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger - and how they work together to help her negotiate moving house and starting at a new school.

Check out our Movie Night with the BBFC activity pack about the film, which includes fun activities for the kids and discussion points for the whole family.

Threat

Very mild threat in several scenes where characters have to avoid danger, including where the ground is falling away beneath them, and a scene where they have to avoid a slightly scary clown character. These sequences are quickly resolved.

There are some sad moments, but the overall message of the film emphasises that sadness is an important and essential emotion and that it is normal to feel sad sometimes. The character Anger mentions several times that he knows 'a curse word' but we never hear him say it. Bad language is very mild and includes the terms 'sucker', 'what the heck' and 'moron'.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

mild threat

Kiki’s Delivery Service is an animated fantasy adventure, from 1989, in which a young witch finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

Threat and horror

Mildly threatening scenes include Kiki getting caught in a thunderstorm, being almost hit on her broomstick by various vehicles and scenes in which she attempts to thwart off a menacing airship.

My Life as A Courgette

mild sex references, references to traumatic childhood experiences

My Life As A Courgette is an animated drama about a boy who moves to a care home after losing his mother.

Find out how we classified the film by reading our case study or, if you’re having a movie night, check out our activity pack for discussion points about the film.

This film contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

Sex

There are comic conversations between child characters regarding their limited and inaccurate understanding of what goes on between adults. These include brief and comic references to adults 'wriggling around' and to 'willies exploding'. Some boys gasp when they glimpse a woman's underwear as she ascends a staircase beneath which they are hiding.

Theme

The main character is placed in a care facility after an incident in which he accidentally causes the death of his alcoholic mother, who behaved in a threatening manner towards him. At the care facility, he meets other children from troubled backgrounds and there are undetailed references to adults taking drugs, committing murder and taking their own lives. One girl's father is referred to as a 'creep' who is now in prison and about whom she had nightmares. No further detail is provided.

There is very mild bad language such as 'butt' and 'hell'. One character is referred to as a 'tramp' by her abusive aunt.

This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

mild war violence

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a biopic about the relationship between author A.A. Milne and his son, who inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories.

Violence

There are brief flashbacks to the battlefields of the First World War in which dead bodies are glimpsed. They are partially hidden in the low light and mud, and there is no strong injury detail. The images inform Milne's behaviour in the narrative, as he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following his service.

A scene of school bullying depicts a young boy being pushed down a flight of stairs while people chant a mocking rhyme. The work does not condone or endorse the bullies' behaviour.

Occasional use of very mild bad language includes 'damn', 'hell' and 'God'. There is infrequent very mild innuendo.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Contains moderate sex references, drug use and one use of strong language

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a US drama in which an introverted freshman has difficulties settling in at his new school and making friends.

Sex

There are moderate sex references, including undetailed, comic and throwaway references to oral sex. In one scene, a character recounts a story about a couple who had to resort to using 'sandwich bags' in the absence of condoms. Another scene involves a teenage couple kissing and fumbling but there is no sight of nudity or actual sex.

Drugs

There are two scenes in which illegal drugs are used. In the first, the central character is encouraged to eat a piece of cake which turns out to contain hash. When the drugs take effect, he begins to speak embarrassing nonsense, to the amusement of his friends. In the second scene, the same character places a tab of acid on his tongue. This causes a brief but disorientating and unpleasant 'trip' in which he experiences flashbacks to traumatic events, including the death of a person who was close to him. He subsequently passes out and wakes up in a hospital, being questioned by police.

Language

There is a single use of such strong language ('f**k'), alongside milder terms including 'asshole', 'bitch', 'bullshit', 'dick', 'prick', 'pussy', 'shag', 'shit' and 'son of a bitch'. There is occasional use of discriminatory terms, such as 'gooks', 'fags' and 'spaz', but the film does not endorse the use of discriminatory language or behaviour.

The film suggests that one of the principal characters was sexually abused by an aunt when he was very young. However, any verbal references to this are discreet and oblique and the visual portrayal of the abuse is limited to a couple of flashback images of a hand on a leg.

There is a fight scene that takes place in the school canteen, containing some heavy punches but no clear detail of injury.

Words On Bathroom Walls

mental illness theme, moderate sex references, infrequent strong language

Words On Bathroom Walls is a US drama in which a teenage boy diagnosed with a mental illness falls in love with a female classmate.

Language

There is infrequent strong language ('f**k'), as well as implied strong language and milder terms (for example, 'bitch', 'piss', 'shit', 'asshole', 'crap', 'screw', 'God', 'Jesus').

There are brief verbal sex references, including one that refers to masturbation.

This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

The teenage boy is medically diagnosed with schizophrenia. The film contains several scenes in which he experiences auditory and visual hallucinations, some of which are prolonged and distressing. There are also scenes in which he is verbally bullied. However, the film's overall treatment of this theme is sensitive and shows how positive outcomes can be achieved from adversity.

There is a scene in which a boy receives a chemical burn in a school laboratory; however, there is limited injury detail. In one scene, the protagonist exceeds his prescribed medication dosage, subsequently experiences a negative reaction, becomes increasingly agitated, falls from a height and is injured. He is rapidly treated and recovers. He briefly imagines voices telling him to take his own life. There is also brief mild violence.