Actor Craig T. Nelson: Authentically Depicting Mental Illness on TV | Video
By Dave Brody |
“Parenthood” stars Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Sam Jaeger and Max Burkholder explain the show's role in starting discussions around mental health issues, particularly Asperger's syndrome – but also substance abuse, aging, depression and more.
Emotions ran high during the series finale of Parenthood, which aired nationwide Thursday, January 29th. Starring PRISM Award winners Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Max Burkholder (in his PRISM Award-winning role as Max Braverman, a child growing up with Asperger’s syndrome), the NBC series brought into viewers’ homes and lives honest conversation about depression, substance use, mental health, aging, cancer and more. Parenthood has taken a dynamic approach to mental wellness: a family support approach. The show has not only spread awareness of mental illness to millions of fans, but it has enlightened its viewers to the fact that people can recover and live happy, productive lives. Because of its accuracy and genuine style of depicting mental illness and substance use recovery, Parenthood has won five PRISMAwards from Entertainment Industries Council.
Parenthoodshowrunner Jason Katims has stated that he has woven his autobiography, as a father of a son with Asperger’s syndrome, into the series. His achievement has been to shift his audiences’ focus from the difficulties Max Braverman may face, to his many gifts and talents, at times, even calling Asperger’s his “super power.” This is the first step in fighting stigma and discrimination that too often accompanies these types of diagnoses. Parenthood has aided people in viewing mental health more positively and because of its authenticity, allows them to relate to each character’s experiences, encouraging those in need to seek help.
EIC recognizes the effort put forth by writers Sarah Watson, David Hudgins, Julia Brownell, Jessica Goldberg, Gina Fattore, Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson, Sarah Watson, Jason Katims, Jesse Zwick to tell these authentic stories.