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The musical received critical acclaim, particularly for Ben Platt's leading performance and the song lyrics. The story has also provided and encouraged an open dialogue about its themes of mental illness and youth suicide.
Here at the BBFC, we make sure that our age ratings reflect the views of everyone across the UK, including teenagers. We know how important mental health is to young people, and that's why we wanted to find out exactly what mental health issues matter most to teenagers.
Our research told us that issues such as anxiety, stress and depression are the top mental health areas of concern for teenagers today. It’s hardly a surprise. But that’s why teenagers told us that they want to see more positive portrayals of mental health on screen: film can help teens start to have important conversations about mental health and wellbeing.
The film Dear Evan Hansen has been adapted from a hugely popular stage musical and is about a teenage boy who suffers from anxiety. At school, Evan struggles to make meaningful connections, until one day, following the death of a fellow student, he begins to form new bonds with his school colleagues.
It’s quite clear from the trailer that mental health is a main theme of the film: anxiety, depression and suicide are all highlighted. Our guidelines make clear that any theme can be classified at any age rating (even U) as long as the issue is treated in a way that’s accessible and appropriate for audiences of that age. How do you think the theme of mental health is presented in this trailer? What’s the overall tone of the content? Do you think parents would be unhappy if younger children saw this trailer? These are some of the questions our Compliance Officers thought about when rating the trailer and what we encourage you to think about when having a go yourself!
Teens’ three biggest mental health concerns revealed by new BBFC research
Today, new research by the BBFC has revealed the three biggest mental health concerns for teens are anxiety, stress and depression.
Key Stage 4 PSHE Resource
We’ve created two free PSHE lessons for teachers to use with their Key Stage 4 students