"Next To Normal" touches upon many varied themes that surround mental health, including diagnosis, discrimination and stigma, family stress and recovery.
Talkback Tuesdays invite the discussion of these themes with experts from the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network as well as the "Next To Normal" cast and creative team. This interactive discussion series occurs immediately following the show each Tuesday in April.
April 11: “Where’s the Casserole?”
Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health featuring Patricia Rehmer, MSN, Senior Vice President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (pictured); and Kathleen Flaherty, Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and a person in recovery, along with the show's cast.
When a serious physical illness is diagnosed, communities rally to support those affected. However, those facing a serious mental health crisis often face discrimination - even abandonment - by previously reliable support networks. But change is afoot, as Ms. Rehmer and Ms. Flaherty discussed with the cast.
April 18: “A Dose of Reality”
Facing the Opioid Crisis in America featuring psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist Dr. J. Craig Allen, MD.
In “Next to Normal” the character of Natalie reaches into the family medicine cabinet to cope with the stress of her mother's illness. Dr. Allen furthers this theme by examining it in light of the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the U.S.
April 25: “There Will Be Light”
Journey to Wellness and Recovery featuring Harold Schwartz, MD, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living, and Vice President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, and Karen Kangas, Director of Recovery and Family Affairs, Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.
The Talkback Tuesday series concludes on a hopeful note, as Dr. Schwartz and Ms. Kangas explore the character of Diana, and her search for wellness and recovery, connecting it to the work patients do every day to achieve recovery and maintain mental health for a lifetime.