Most viewers and movie critics seem to agree “A Beautiful Mind” is a believable account of one man”s problems and triumphs. But some psychologists and mental illness experts say it”s more than a story about a Nobel Prize winner, and call a the movie “a lesson.”

The movie tells the life story of a mathematician named John Forbes Nash Jr. best known for introducing game theory and his battle with schizophrenia.

“I thought it was a beautiful movie. I cried in it,” said University psychology Prof. Rajiv Tandon.

But Tandon said he liked the movie more because of the way schizophrenia was portrayed rather than the account of the life of Nash.

“The best thing I liked about the movie is that it really conveyed the human aspect of schizophrenia. It is a human disease, it”s a terrible disease,” Tandon said.

Tandon, who met Nash several times in real life, said though the movie took several liberties when telling the story of Nash”s life, he believes it will help people understand the disease more and erase some of the stigmas against the people who suffer from it.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which people suffer from auditory hallucinations, paranoia, lack of motivation, social withdrawal and a reduced ability to process complex information, among other symptoms.

More than two million people in the U.S. have the disease, which normally strikes between the late teens and early thirties.

Tandon said schizophrenics and other mental disease patients are not normally violent, as some movie and television characters have shown them to be.

Tammi Landry, the executive director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention”s Ann Arbor chapter, said violence is not the only stigma upheld by movies and television shows.

Landry, who recently co-founded the AFSP chapter with her friend David Stucki after both had close family members commit suicide after suffering from depression, said sometimes comedies aren”t a laughing matter.

“I actually never paid attention to it until after my father committed suicide, and then lately I”ve been watching shows where people are joking about shooting themselves in the head. I just don”t think that”s funny, because so many people really do it,” Landry said.

She said the stigmas often harm people with mental illnesses physically as well as mentally.

“I think that the biggest stigma (with depression) is that people tell you to just get over it. They think depression is just a phase you”re going through, but it”s a disease,” Landry said, adding that people do not seek help because they do not want to admit they have a serious problem or show signs of weakness.

“It takes a lot of courage to admit you”re depressed and to seek help,” she said. “Those are the people I admire the most.”

Tandon said through treatment, people with mental illnesses, like Nash, can work and build lasting relationships.

“This movie does more good than bad,” Tandon said. He said the movie shows Nash “as a human being. This is not some statistic, this is not a crazy man, this is a human being.”

Although Tandon said he thinks “A Beautiful Mind” will help alleviate stigmas associated with mental illnesses, he said the movie is only making up lost ground from previous Hollywood dramas, such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo”s Nest,” which featured a zombie-like Jack Nicholson after his character received electroshock therapy.

“It has taken a long time to get over that,” he said. “It”s only now that electro-convulsive therapy is being considered as not such a bad thing.”

But Landry said that it”s important people take responsibility for educating those around them. “I don”t think the media needs to be responsible for all of society”s lack of knowledge about mental illness,” she said. “Movies are movies. I think that we need real people and real news stations and real organizations talking about it.”

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