Franklin James Cook

Actor Launches Nonprofit, Creates Film To Conquer Stigma

In Mental Illness, Stigma on February 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm

pantoliano21209ORIGINAL REVIEW — In Joe Pantoliano’s hometown newspaper, the Wilton Bulletin, reporter Paul Schott reviews the actor’s work-in-progress “No Kidding, Me Too!, which shows how diagnosis and treatment can empower those with brain diseases to lead fulfilling lives.”

As well as chronicling Mr. Pantoliano’s own battle with clinical depression, No Kidding, Me Too! prominently features young people who have struggled with depression, drug addiction, and self-injuring. Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to the harmful repercussions of undiagnosed brain dis-eases, says Mr. Pantoliano. He adds that with the documentary, he wants to teach young people that “it’s cool to talk about your feelings.”

Pantoliano, who directs and narrates the film, has also founded a nonprofit organizaton of the same name, No Kidding, Me Too!, which has as one of its goals “removing the social stigma of brain diseases or mental illness.”

The name of Mr. Pantoliano’s documentary and nonprofit comes from the hope that one day all people with brain diseases will feel comfortable sharing their story and that another person with a mental illness will respond, “No kidding, me too!”

The organization’s homepage features a trailer for the film, a television interview of Pantoliano with NBC’s Brian Williams, and a statement of purpose:

No Kidding, Me Too! is … comprised of entertainment industry members united in an effort to educate Americans about the epidemic related to brain dis-ease in all forms. Through this enlightenment we will teach those suffering from it, and their loved ones who are victims of it, to talk about it openly. The goal is to tear this stigma out of the closet so these people will be surprised to find millions of others like themselves and say, “No Kidding, Me Too!”

[The abridged URL for this post is .]

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  1. Here in my community, the stigma associated with mental health to include suicide is startling. I have started a local support group called Heartbeat after losing a brother-in-law to suicide. He, too, suffered from depression but was able to mask the symptoms leaving his family shocked with grief. It is unfortunate that the local schools, media, etc. simply do not want this in the forefront concerned that “if it is talked about, it will be completed.” I am so thankful to hear actor Pantoliano’s has written a book & is actively involved in attempting to conquer the stigma – this is a huge undertaking.

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