With growing social consciousness today, even corporations such as Disney have started to shed light on mental health issues, consequently humanizing beloved superheroes. The intersection of mental health and heroism has been explored by the MCU brilliantly, placing the conversation around it at the forefront with shows like Wandavision, Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. 

Each series manages and processes trauma as a focal point of storytelling and makes self-growth a significant component throughout. Let’s see how: 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!


In Wandavision, we explore how Wanda grieves the death of her lover and also her brother. She fabricated an entire universe instead of dealing with the painful reality. We watch her go through the five stages of grief. The first stage, anger, is released when Monica is exposed and Wanda lashes out and blasts Monica out of Westview. The next step, bargaining, is seen when she bargains to keep Vision with her by sacrificing her control over her surroundings.

We also see the depressive stage wherein she lies in bed for several hours, only getting up to eat cereal. It might not be as heroic as expected, but this is what battling trauma can look like. By the end, Wanda does realize how unhealthy her coping mechanism was and that she will have to deal with the fact that she hurt a lot of people during her time in Westview. We hope to see her in therapy to identify and process her mental health issues.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes is one of the most traumatized characters in the MCU. It was exciting to see him heal from his past as the Winter Soldier and change for good. Several scenes have been dedicated to his therapy, wherein he works hard on forgiving himself. He doesn’t enjoy socializing, and he trusts no one, not even his therapist. His PTSD symptoms cause this, but despite this, he opens up and talks about the only time he felt calm, which was a brief moment in Wakanda, the only time he wasn’t fighting. He also has a journal full of names of the people he hurt in his Winter Soldier past and seeks to make amends with these people and ask for their forgiveness. Barnes’ therapist makes him perform a “Soul Gazing Exercise” with Sam Wilson in another scene.

As a result, Barnes criticizes Sam for throwing away Steve Roger’s or Captain America’s shield and in rage (at himself), he says that maybe Steve was wrong to have believed in Sam, and if he was wrong about that, then he feels Steve must be wrong about him (Bucky) too. This shows that Bucky was unsure of his worth, and the memories from his soldier days haunted him, reminding him of all the horrible things he had done. The overwhelming guilt accompanying the PTSD is displayed throughout the series when Bucky is shown to be just as much a victim as the people he was made to kill. Guilt, memories or flashbacks of memories of a traumatic event mirror the realities of so many of those who live with PTSD, be it veterans or sexual assault survivors


There is no one with more mental health issues than the beloved not-so-beloved God of Mischief. Loki has daddy issues. Period.

Being constantly treated as the lesser younger brother, he overcompensates by trying to best others. He incites ruptures in several relationships and breaks others’ trust as a defence mechanism to anyone offering a healthy relationship. What Loki craves isn’t power or the throne, but acceptance and love, which he was deprived of far too much and far too long. We loved how the first episode played out like a long therapy session. However, as much as we love Mobius, we would love to see Loki seeking help from an actual mental health professional.

As for Sylvie, she doesn’t see the long term consequences of her actions. She kidnaps and massacres innumerable TVA agents to meet her goal. When she finally meets the said goal, she is warned by He Who Remains to consider that by dismantling this structure, she may be unleashing dire and irreversible repercussions that would affect many lives. However, she doesn’t consider the alternate possibility of her hurting someone because she cannot shift her focus from the fact that she was wronged. Suppose Sylvie were to form a relationship where her self-object needs were met, typically through a therapist. In that case, she might have been able to develop emotional intelligence and think about the long term results of her plans. 


As one can see, As one can see, Marvel has made efforts to make people understand the struggles of those who live with mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD.
Wandavision, Loki, and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier have been immensely successful. So, I suppose it’s safe to say that fans love the way Marvel has incorporated mental health and how they’ve approached it sensitively and accurately. We love seeing superheroes like these: who not only kick butt in the field but also take care of their mental well-being. Marvel, we love you 3000!

Written By- Dev