During especially rough times, we all need a little help. Sometimes, that might mean seeking a psychiatrist to help our mental health. Other times, it’s just watching one on TV. In a conversation with Men’s Health via Instagram Live, Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D., spoke with one of the most famous and esteemed psychiatrists in the world—on the small screen, that is.
For six seasons, actress Lorraine Bracco played Dr. Jennifer Melfi on HBO’s The Sopranos, psychiatrist to mob boss Tony Soprano himself (a role for which she earned two Emmy and one Golden Globe nominations; her breakthrough, though, came in the form of Karen Hill in Goodfellas). More than 13 years after The Sopranos’ cut to black series’ finale, Bracco shared how pivotal her role was in shaping men’s approach to mental health. “I was told by the psychoanalytical community that a lot more men went into therapy,” she said of Tony Soprano’s attitude toward mental health on the show.
“They’re taught not to feel, to be tough, to be strong,” she continued. “I think there’s a lot of that…the culture of bringing up a boy is changing, I believe women are becoming more understanding of how to raise a boy.”
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While Bracco isn’t a psychiatrist in real life, she has been public about her own mental health struggles in the past. (Shortly after the Sopranos’ end, Bracco was public about her struggles with depression after a divorce.) Now, amid pandemic, Bracco tries to look at the brighter side of things, and is a heavy user of FaceTime to connect with loved ones in the absence of in-person contact. “I know it sounds so simple, and maybe banal, but somewhere it’s giving me some solace.”
She’s also starring in an upcoming HGTV series, the aptly-named My Big Italian Adventure, about what it’s like to buy and renovate a 1 euro-home in Italy. Now that’s an offer we’d couldn’t refuse.
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