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'Sharing Miracles' Television Program to Feature Academy Award Nominee Lorraine Bracco

WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Golden Globe Award-nominated actress Lorraine Bracco will appear on May's episode of Sharing Miracles -- a 30-minute public affairs television program that tells the compelling and inspirational stories of real patients. Sharing Miracles airs on more than 300 television stations nationwide.

Bracco, best known for her gritty portrayal of mob wife Karen Hill in the critically acclaimed film Goodfellas and psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi on HBO's long-running television program The Sopranos, appears on Sharing Miracles to discuss her personal experience overcoming clinical depression.

Speaking on this month's episode, Bracco explains how the stigma associated with mental illness initially prevented her from seeking medical treatment. "I was probably depressed for about a year before I was finally diagnosed. I was doing yoga, eating well, exercising, doing everything I could to be strong," Bracco explains. "But I was in denial, until one day I just couldn't take it anymore, and finally listened to a friend who told me to seek help."

She adds, "I sometimes think we should call mental illness a toothache or a broken leg because people would immediately get those things taken care of."

Bracco's diagnosis and subsequent treatment coincided with the beginning of the hit show The Sopranos, in which she played Tony Soprano's psychiatrist. She speaks about the effect that her character had on public perceptions of depression and therapy: "A lot of people could relate to Tony Soprano, so they felt that if this big, burly, masculine guy went to see a psychiatrist, it must be okay. I found out later that a lot of men went into therapy after The Sopranos went on the air."

Bracco is now an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, having penned a book, On The Couch, about her experience and about the importance of treating depression, which affects roughly 35 million people in the U.S.

"The most important lesson is that you can't do it alone," she says on Sharing Miracles. "There is help available today. There's talk therapy, there's medication, and there's no need to suffer. If you reach out your hand, hopefully the person across from you will take it."

Bracco's co-star on The Sopranos, Joey Pantoliano -- who also suffered from depression -- appears on this episode of Sharing Miracles to discuss working with Bracco and the public response to the character of Dr. Melfi.

Also speaking about the barrier that stigma poses to the treatment of depression is AstraZeneca scientist Dr. Jamie Mullen, who says that care for patients with mental illness is generally improving, thanks to more positive public perceptions of the condition, combined with medical advances.  The future holds promise for further advances, as America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are working on nearly 200 potential new medicines for mental illness.

In addition, the program features Super Bowl champion and former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis, World Series champion and former New York Yankee and New York Met Darryl Strawberry, and Leave It To Beaver star Jerry Mathers, who discuss how the Partnership for Prescription Assistance can help uninsured Americans find information about patient assistance programs that may help them to get the medicines they need for free or nearly free.

Previous episodes of Sharing Miracles have featured Bettis, Strawberry and Mathers, as well as actor Danny Glover, who suffered from epilepsy; Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, an advocate of breast cancer awareness; legendary Major League Baseball manager and cancer survivor Joe Torre; Grammy Award-winning country music superstar Naomi Judd, who overcame Hepatitis C; pioneering rapper and actor Ice-T, who speaks about his battle with heart disease; Super Bowl Champion Tedy Bruschi, who recovered from a stroke to return to professional football; former Philadelphia Phillies star and ESPN commentator John Kruk, who overcame testicular cancer; Emmy Award-winning actor Joey Pantoliano, who suffers from clinical depression; Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Mike Ditka, who suffers from heart disease; Aaron Boone, a baseball star who returned to the field after undergoing open-heart surgery; and Boston Red Sox general manager Terry Francona, who lives with deep-vein thrombosis.

Other guests on the show have included two-time NCAA tournament-winning University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun, who has overcome cancer three times; legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden, who lives with diabetes; Boston Red Sox star pitcher Jon Lester, who has battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins, who has diabetes; Emmy-nominated former star of Family Ties Meredith Baxter, who survived breast cancer; Olympic gold medal winners Mark Spitz (high cholesterol), Bruce Jenner (attention deficit disorder), and Greg Louganis (HIV); syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis; pop icon and Broadway star Deborah Gibson, who has suffered from devastating anxiety attacks; and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and Super Bowl Champion Len Dawson, who survived prostate cancer.

Sharing Miracles airs on 325 television stations across the country in the following cities: Anchorage, AK; Decatur, AL; Harrison, AR; Jones, AR; Mountain Home, AR; Tempe, AZ; Bath, ME; Casa Grande, AZ; Chino Valley, AZ; Anaheim, CA; Compton, CA; Coralville, CO; Del Mar, CA; Gilroy, CA; Hayward, CA; Pacifica, CA; Pasadena, CA; Petaluma, CA; San Andreas, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Arvada, CO; Aurora, CO; Fort Collins, CO; Golden, CO; Greeley, CO; Longmont, CO; Northglenn, CO; Thornton, CO; Bridgeport, CT; Canaan, CT; East Haven, CT; Hamden, CT; Hartford, CT; Madison, CT; North Haven, CT; Plainville, CT; Simsbury, CT; Wallingford, CT; Brooksville, FL; Cape Coral, FL; Coral Springs, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Fort Myers, FL; Port Orange, FL; MacDill AFB, FL; Tampa, FL; Palm Coast, FL; Vero Beach, FL; Atlanta, GA; Dallas, GA; Douglasville, GA; Fort Oglethorpe, GA; LaGrange, GA; Lawrenceville, GA; Hilo, HI; Ames, IA; Des Moines, IA; Fairfield, IA; Mount Vernon, IA; Olin, IA; Muscatine, IA; Boise, ID; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Moscow, ID; Soda Springs, ID ; Addison, IL; Aurora, IL; Batavia, IL; Darien, IL; Galesburg, IL; Glen Ellyn, IL; Glenview, IL; Joliet, IL; Lake Forest, IL; Naperville, IL; Plainfield, IL; Peoria, IL; Rock Island, IL; Romeoville, IL; Urbana, IL; Wheaton, IL; Austin, IN; Bloomington, IN; Connersville, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; Richmond, IN; Derby, KS; Haysville, KS; Lawrence, KS; Olathe, KS; Ottawa, KS; Covington, KY; Highland Heights, KY; Louisville, KY; Middlesboro, KY; Paducah, KY Bossier City, LA; Houma, LA; Lafayette, LA; Mandeville, LA; New Orleans, LA; Amherst, MA; Arlington, MA; Boston, MA; Boylston, MA; Brookline, MA; Carver, MA; Chelmsford, MA; Dracut, MA; Easthampton, MA; Foxboro, MA; Framingham, MA; Haverhill, MA; Holden, MA; Hopkinton, MA; Leominster, MA; Longmeadow, MA; Lynn, MA; Marion, MA; Newburyport, MA; Quincy, MA; Reading, MA; Sandwich, MA; Wakefield, MA; Wilbraham, MA; Worcester, MA;  Bel Air, MD; Columbia, MD; Easton, MD; Greenbelt, MD; Largo, MD; Rockville, MD; Bath, ME; Boothbay Harbor, ME; Bridgton, ME; Brunswick, ME; Fairfield, ME; Farmington, ME; Madison, ME; Mexico, ME; Ann Arbor, MI; Byron, MI; Cadillac, MI; Farmington Hills, MI; Holland, MI; Kalamazoo, MI; Lake Orion, MI; Manistee, MI; Monroe, MI; Portage, MI; Romeo, MI; Waterford, MI; Wyandotte, MI; Blaine, MN; Bloomington, MN; Champlin, MN; Coon Rapids, MN;  Duluth, MN; Fergus Falls, MN; Hibbing, MN; Hutchinson, MN; Inver Grove Heights, MN; Le Seuer, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Rosemont, MN; Spring Park, MN; Stillwater, MN; White Bear Lake, MN; Brentwood, MI; Hudsonville, MI; Blue Springs, MO; Columbia, MO; Independence, MO; Ste. Genevieve, MO; Hillsboro, MS; Jackson, MS; Vicksburg, MS; Great Falls, MT; Helena, MT; Albemarle, NC; Charlotte, NC; Knightdale, NC; New Bern, NC; Wingate, NC; Fargo, ND; Jamestown, ND; Grand Island, NE; Hastings, NE; Lincoln, NE; Omaha, NE; Claremont, NH; Derry, NH; Durham, NH; Keene, NH; Londonderry, NH; Manchester, NH; North Conway, NH; Wolfeboro, NH; Bloomfield, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Metuchen, NJ; Montclair, NJ; Piscataway, NJ; Pomona, NJ; Princeton, NJ; Statewide, NJ; Summit, NJ; Wayne, NJ; Albuquerque, NM; Los Alamos, NM; Rio Rancho, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Taos, NM; Boulder City, NV; Carson City, NV; Minden, NV; Chappaqua, NY; Fairport, NY; Penfield, NY; Staten Island, NY; Tivoli, NY; Webster, NY; Yonkers, NY; Athens, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Defiance, OH; Fairborn, OH; Hudson; OH; Macedonia, OH; Medina, OH; Middletown, OH; Norwood, OH; Troy, OH; Wadsworth, OH; Perry, OK; Oregon City, OR; Silverton, OR; Ardmore, PA; Berwyn, PA; Bethel Park, PA; Gettysburg, PA; Harrisburg, PA; McMurray, PA; Moon Township, PA; Pottstown, PA; Reading, PA; Wayne, PA; York, PA; Greenville, SC; Rockhill, SC; Union, SC; Clarksville, TN; Franklin, TN; Germantown, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; Alvin, TX; Arlington, TX; College Station, TX; Denton, TX; Houston, TX; Kingsville, TX; Cedar City, UT; Logan, UT; Salt Lake City, UT; Vernal, UT; Blacksburg, VA; Gloucester, VA; Herndon, VA; Norfolk, VA; Roanoke, VA; Suffolk, VA; Barre, VT; Bellow Falls, VT; Burlington, VT; Hyde Park, VT; Manchester Center, VT; Newport, VT; Springfield, VT; Waitsfield, VT; Bainbridge Island, WA; Bremerton, WA; College Park, WA; Ellensburg, WA; Kent, WA; Longview, WA; Port Townsend, WA;  Seattle, WA; Toppenish, WA; Dodgeville, WI; Fitchburg, WI; Hartford, WI; Janesville, WI; Lake Mills, WI; Kenosha, WI; Madison, WI; Merrill, WI; Muskego, WI; New London, WI; Reedsburg, WI; River Falls, WI; Sun Prairie, WI; Superior, WI; Waterloo, WI; Wausau, WI; Wenatchee, WI; Whitehall, WI; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Huntington, WV; and Summersville, WV.

The show's corresponding Web site,, is an interactive forum for people to relate their own personal stories of hope and survival. Every patient's battle is unique, but the collective power of shared experiences can offer great help and courage to others who are fighting for their lives.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps uninsured and financially-struggling patients access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. To find out if they may qualify for help, patients should call toll-free 1-888-4PPA-NOW to speak with a trained specialist or visit

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $45.8 billion in 2009 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.3 billion in 2009.

PhRMA Internet Address:

For information on stories of hope and survival, visit:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit:

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit:

For more information on public health emergencies, visit

For information on the danger of imported drugs, visit:

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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