One issue that the pandemic has helped publicly reveal as particularly pressing is mental health, which has progressively occupied more space in a variety of audiovisual narratives in recent years. Some Italian TV series are trying to overcome stereotypical and inaccurate representation of mental health and counterpose more nuanced storyline to stereotypical and stigmatizing depiction of mental illness, through some structural and narrative recurring features: first, the Italian way to address mental health with more care and thoughtfulness is making it the main subject of the series; second, this intention is achieved by setting the stories in psychiatric hospitals; third, the preferred protagonists for this kind of stories so far are young boys and girls. This article will focus on three Italian TV series, Mediaset Oltre la soglia, Rai teen series Mental and Netflix drama Tutto chiede salvezza, to reach two purposes. On the one hand, to highlight the distinguishing traits of these TV shows with respect of the three recurring features mentioned above. On the other hand, to investigate the relationship of these series to medical drama: what is consistent with the genre, and what instead is distancing these series from it, such as the unbalanced focus on patients over doctors.
Medical drama; teen drama; mental health; teenagers; TV series.