Actor Joe Pantoliano hosts Mental Health Breakfast in East Memphis

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Hundreds of mental health professionals and community leaders joined forces Tuesday morning in East Memphis to raise awareness about the importance of mental health care.

Leading that conversation was Emmy-Award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano.

You probably recognize Joe from roles on The Sopranos, or movies like The Goonies, Risky Business, or The Matrix.

The Jersey native told a packed house at Methodist Le Bonheur’s ninth annual Mental Health Breakfast about his own struggles with depression and his mission to stop the stigma associated with mental illness.

”I think it’s imperative that we learn to educate ourselves, because as a nation, we are designed and programmed to ‘wait to break’ before we talk about it,” Pantoliano said. ”For the longest time, I thought my disease was a weakness, a character flaw, a defect. And certainly, nobody felt like I felt. And in talking about it and sharing my experience - it might encourage them to look at their own history.”

Proceeds from Tuesday’s breakfast benefit the Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network - a free behavioral health resource offered through Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

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