3 Movies to Talk about Mental Health with Children

3 Movies to Talk about Mental Health with Children

By David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) Community Outreach Specialist Jessica Liria, M.S.

Inside Out

Are there good and bad emotions?

  • No! We don’t want to label our emotions as good or bad; they are all important! When we think about why we are feeling our emotions—joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear—we can learn a lot about ourselves, and we can use those emotions to grow stronger and motivate us to make positive changes. How we think about our emotions leads us to action. When we place positive perspectives on our emotions, we can make positive actions.

Why didn’t Riley tell her parents how she was feeling?

  • Sometimes, we may feel like we must put on a happy face, or act like everything is ok, even when it isn’t. Riley could tell her parents were feeling stressed and they had a lot to manage with their big move. Riley tried to hide how she was feeling so they wouldn’t have even more to worry about, but as we could see, Riley started to feel worse over time. It is ok to not feel ok, and we can talk to those we trust about how we feel—the sooner the better!

Why did Joy want to keep Sadness from touching the memories?

  • When Sadness touched the memories, they changed from feelings of happiness to feelings of sadness. Riley would look back on those happy memories and feel sad because she missed those parts of her life. What Joy didn’t realize is that it was because of Sadness that some of those happy memories were created in the first place. And from any of our feelings—sadness, anger, fear, disgust—things can change, and we can feel joy in our lives again.


It doesn’t seem like Mirabel was given a magical gift; do you think that is true?

  • No! Mirabel absolutely has a gift. Even though it isn’t something others can see, like strength or controlling the weather, Mirabel has empathy and compassion for those around her. She cares deeply about her family, and she is someone they can talk to about how they feel. Mirabel can see the cracks in La Casita, which represents the fact that the family isn’t as perfect as they appear. She can identify what brings her family members down and helps them to “fix” their cracks.

What do you Luisa’s song “Surface Pressure” is about?

  • Luisa is always seen as the strong one. Always the one who has to hold everything on her shoulders. She is expected to carry the weight of those around her and all of that pressure starts to affect how she feels, and it affects her gift. We can only be as strong as our mental health is. When we are not feeling well mentally, we cannot feel well physically. It is important to know when we are carrying too much, and we have to let others know when we need help.

Why was Isabela surprised when she made a cactus?

  • Like Luisa, Isabela had high expectations to live up to. She felt like she always had to be perfect and beautiful and only make perfect, beautiful flowers. When she is sad and angry and finally allows herself to acknowledge those emotions, she makes a cactus. And she loves it! Isabela was able to express herself through making the cactus. We can express ourselves in many ways too, like art, music, sports, dance, and more!

The Good Dinosaur

Arlo had a lot of bad things happen to him, like his dad passing away and getting lost far from home. Why didn’t he give up?

  • Even though Arlo faced several challenges, it was his determination to make it back to his family that kept him going. He wanted to make it home, and with help from Spot he got there. At first, he was angry with Spot and blamed him for the bad things that had happened, but instead of letting his anger take over, he realized Spot wanted to help him. Sometimes when we feel like we are wronged by others, we can be angry too. But through forgiveness and our own strength, we can get through the challenges of life.

What happened when Arlo was able to “get through his fear?”

  • Arlo was afraid of many things, but in facing his fears, he was able to discover his strength inside. Arlo surprised himself several times throughout his journey and started to see he was more like his dad than he though. We heard Arlo’s true roar when he almost lost Spot to the pterodactyls and in that moment he realized how much fight he had in him. We can face our fears too and getting through them makes us grow stronger.

How was Arlo stronger when he finally made it back home?

  • Strength is not just a physical quality. Yes, our muscles and bones can become stronger, but our brain can too. Arlo’s strength was built by being more confident in himself and less afraid of the things around him. As we grow, we are going to have times that we fail, but we cannot be successful without failing first. Every time we try, we get better. It is important to keep getting back up and try again until we get it right. As Arlo continued to get back up, he became more confident in himself and his choices.

Jul 28, 2022 | Blog

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