Category Archives: PTSD

Joe Pantoliano Got Help For His Depression and So Can You

16 May 2016

famous face from Hollywood is helping people with mental illness. You know him as a TV and movie tough guy, but Joe Pantoliano was in North Haven Thursday morning with a much different message. You probably know Pantoliano from The Matrix, The Fugitive, and The Sopranos. What you probably didn’t know is that he suffers from clinical depression. That’s because, for years, he didn’t know he had it. Now he’s talking about it so other people can get help like he did. “We’re running away from our problems. We’re drugging our feelings away,” Pantoliano told a packed breakfast at Fantasia in North Haven. “We’re not talking our feelings away.” The famous actor and director ran and drugged his own problems away for years. He can laugh about his family’s problems now. “I never thought my mother was mentally ill. I just thought she was Italian-American,” he told the crowd, to a big laugh. In an interview with News8, he then said of his family’s mental illness, “We had it in our family and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t know that the family dysfunction had a mental component to it.” He says he spent years using food, alcohol and drugs to try to hide the pain he always had inside. Now, however, he shares his diagnosis of clinical depression with groups like the one this morning. It was the annual fundraiser for the Clifford Beers Clinic. The clinic provides mental health services to thousands of children in the New Haven area. Chief Executive Officer Alice Forrester said their experts recently did mental health assessments of middle school aged children in the inner city. “We’re finding 45-50% of the kids have full-blown PTSD,” she said. Yes, half the kids had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Pantoliano found out just how prevalent mental illness is when he started telling people the plot of his 2006 movie “Canvas.” “What happens to a family when mental illness is introduced into a family,” Pantoliano explained. “So people would say, ‘No kidding, me too, my brother is…’ Or, ‘No kidding, me too, my mother.’ ‘No kidding, me too, my sister.” That led Pantoliano to direct a documentary he titled “No Kidding! Me 2!” The film explores all kinds of mental illness, or dis-ease as Pantoliano puts it. He also created the No Kidding, Me 2! foundation to try to reduce the stigma of mental illness. “People don’t get help because they’re ashamed to ask for it. There’s that shame component,” said Pantoliano.

One Candidate’s Risky Bet: Talking About His PTSD

15 May 2016

Congressional candidate Sean Barney is doing something few politicians have dared: discussing his personal battle to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder from his tour in Iraq. As a Democrat running for Delaware’s at-large House seat, the Marine Corps veteran on Thursday is marking the 10th anniversary of what he calls his “alive day” — when he was shot through the neck and nearly died — by revealing publicly for the first time the invisible wounds he has struggled with far longer than the physical ones.


A Pit Stop for PTSD Therapy

09 Apr 2016
Mira Aztil, a clinical psychologist with the Israeli NGO IsraAid, recalls the traumatic stories she’s heard from her refugee patients in Lesbos, Greece: One Iraqi woman described how she had suffered through an encounter with “The Biter,” a spiked metal tool used by the Islamic State to clip off the flesh of women deemed to be immodestly dressed. Another woman, a Syrian mother of four, had been racked with guilt since her husband died on the trek across the snow-laden Syrian-Turkish border. She was convinced that her urgency to get the family to safety quickly had caused his heart to fail.

Severe trauma cases are seen on a daily basis on Lesbos, the pastoral Greek island currently serving as the front line to Europe’s largest wave of forced migration since the Second World War. Since January, 2015, 1.2 million refugees have entered Europe, almost half of whom (48 percent) are from Syria, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Guardian recently reported that nearly 450,000 of them have come through Lesbos.

Mindfulness Training May Ease PTSD

03 Apr 2016

Mindfulness training can trigger brain changes that help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manage disturbing memories and thoughts, according to a new study of war veterans. The goal of mindfulness training is to help people develop in-the-moment attention and awareness. This study included 23 U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who all received some form of group therapy. After four months of weekly sessions, many had reductions in their PTSD symptoms.  However, some of the participants received mindfulness training, and only those veterans showed brain activity changes that could be detected on functional MRI brain scans. Before mindfulness training, when the veterans with PTSD were resting quietly, they had extra activity in brain regions involved in responding to threats or outside problems, the study authors said.

Maine Shelter Dog Adopted to Train as Veteran Service Dog

19 Mar 2016

A stray dog brought to Maine from South Carolina will soon head south again as a service dog for a wounded veteran. Service dogs are often used by veterans to manage such mental health issues as PTSD. Rocky arrived at the Franklin County Animal Shelter from Macon County just a few days before One Warrior Won founder Richard Brewer and Vice President of Operations Julie Plummer came up from Portland to meet him and adopted him last Tuesday, said Billie Jo McDonald, animal care technician. “They fell in love with him,” she said. “He was exactly what they wanted.”

Virtual Therapy Helps With Depression

26 Feb 2016

Patients wear a headset that projects a life-sized image, firstly of an adult and then of a child. The new research tested the technology for the first time on patients with a mental health problem. The project is part of a continuing study at University College London. The university, which is working in collaboration with ICREA-University of Barcelona, has suspected for several years that virtual therapy could help with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, and more.

Exercise for Suicide Prevention

25 Feb 2016

Alaska National Guardsmen gathered Monday for a workout called 22 WOD to End Veteran Suicide. The WOD, or Workout Of the Day, is a national CrossFit event geared toward raising awareness about suicide prevention. Despite increasing mental health services, the number of veteran suicides in Alaska may be growing. Eight vets took their lives during fiscal year 2014, versus five the fiscal year before. Nationally, an average of 22 vets commit suicide each day. It’s a staggering number the military is working to combat through events like 22 WOD, which recognize those lives lost. At the gym on Camp Carroll, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, service members took part in a work out so tough, SSgt. Oliver Meza said it’s almost like going into combat. “High stress, adrenaline, sweat — you’re giving everything you got so it’s almost replicating that environment,” he said. Exercise can help treat such issues as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more.

How Old is PTSD?

07 Feb 2016

There is a story in my family of my grandfather’s homecoming from the Korean War. His father, a medic in the German army in World War I, took him into his study. “You saw horrible things over there,” he told his son. “But you have to forget them. When you leave this room, you just don’t think about it anymore.”

Electric Patch Helps Some People With PTSD in Small Study

05 Feb 2016

People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could someday be treated with the help of an electric patch worn on their head when they are sleeping, researchers say.