6 TV Shows Being Recognized for Their Portrayal of Mental Illness and Addiction

Dr. Oz is hosting the 2016 Voice Awards, where some of your favorite series will be honored.

Sometimes the major drama we watch our favorite TV characters go through is actually far from fiction — and might even feel familiar to someone close to us. In the real world, mental illness and substance abuse are often swept under the rug or considered character flaws rather than the serious health conditions they are. That's exactly why it's so important to celebrate media that put these uncomfortable but pervasive subjects under the spotlight and spark further conversation.

At the 2016 Voice Awards, six series in particular will be honored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for helping to raise awareness about everything from suicide and bipolar disorder to postpartum depression and drug addition. Hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz himself, the awards will also recognize Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Rob and Nick Reiner, and the Jackson-Brown family.

Here are the shows you should watch out for. And just a warning: There's a whole lot of spoilers ahead. But spoilers so worth hearing about.

The 2016 Voice Awards will be streamed live on Wednesday, August 10, beginning at 6:30 p.m. PDT/9:30 p.m. EDT. To view the live webcast, visit www.samhsa.gov/voice-awards.

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Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods, which CBS calls a "drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement," deals with sticky situations in every episode. But the episode that's making waves addresses both mental health issues and Crisis Intervention Team training.


Episode to Watch: "With Friends Like These"

The Carmichael Show

The Carmichael Show is always all about family, but one episode highlights how important family support can be to someone with mental illness: Cynthia Carmichael (Loretta Devine) struggles with depression and the stigma that goes along with it. Luckily, this mother hen has the support of her family to get through it, even when she doesn't want to face the disorder firsthand.


Episode to watch: "The Blues"

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Empire

Empire is FOX's top scripted show for good reason. In a particularly moving episode, Andre Lyon (Trai Byers), who suffers from bipolar disorder, has a breakdown and flushes bottle upon bottle of his medication down the toilet. Later in the episode, he's given a shot to subdue him and ends up in the hospital.


Episode to watch: "Unto the Breach"

Madam Secretary

An episode of political drama Madam Secretary takes on the tough topic of suicide when Henry's (Tim Daly) father takes his own life after overdosing on hydrocodone. After being conned into giving basically everything he owned to a woman who was catfishing him, he thought killing himself was his only option.


Episode to watch: "Invasive Species"

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Mom

In an episode of CBS's Mom that had fans across the globe completely heartbroken, Jodi (Emily Osment) died of an unexpected drug overdose. Even though the moment left viewers speechless, there was a very important message attached: After the episode, a PSA featuring the stars of the show, Anna Faris and Allison Janney, along with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, highlighted how common drug overdoses actually are in the United States.


Episode to watch: "Diabetic Lesbians and a Blushing Bride"

Nashville

Like Hayden Panettiere in real life, her character Juliette Barnes also suffers from postpartum depression. Her disorder, road to recovery, and the importance of family support are addressed through her touching storyline.


Episode to Watch: "Before You Go Make Sure You Know"

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