“The Happiness Patrol,” fighting misconceptions of mental health

(Warning, this story may contain spoilers)


Photo provided by prydonacademy.com

Joe Kronberg, Staff Writer

“Happiness will prevail…”

Very little is well on Terra Alpha. Helen A has become a ruthless dictator, executing all who exhibit anything but happiness “for the good of the majority,” everyone lives in fear of death sent from the sugary fist of the Kandyman, and The Happiness Patrol fires on sight at a glimpse of sadness.

Enter the Doctor and Ace, who are more than disturbed to see the Earth colony that has morphed into a carnival of the damned.

The Doctor is forced to face the tyranny head on, clashing against the Kandyman and Helen A, in an attempt to bring revolution to Terra Alpha.

At first glance, The Happiness Patrol is a little hard to take seriously. The Patrol’s uniforms, the dodgy set, and most of all the Kandyman are frankly a little ridiculous.

What’s most important though, is the message sent by The Happiness Patrol, which is a demand for acceptance to those with mental health issues.

Though originally aired in the late 80’s, the story of fear mongering is especially relevant today, in a world where depression and anxiety are prominent, and most attempts to solve these issues sometimes cause more harm than help.

Helen A is the personification of all actions made in an effort to help, but creating a more fear based environment for those with mental health struggles. With the motto of “Happiness will prevail,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of those with the “Just be happy” attitude I came across on multiple occasions with my own battles against depression and anxiety.

Then comes the Kandyman, who represents the doctors who just drug up patients in an attempt to solve their problems, while failing to address the actual problems many face.

This dark tale is something I would recommend to those who don’t understand the problems their peers may face, to see how they may be indirectly causing more problems due to a lack of education on the matter.

It was interesting to see a story of a corrupt society where the majority struggles mainly focusing on those in charge of it, because I think it could open the eyes of those who try to separate and force happiness upon those in ways that don’t actually help.

Happiness is not something that can be forced upon anyone, which I think is an important message that especially schools should realize.

Though the look itself may be under par to say the least, the underlying message gives the story 4.5 out of 5 stars.