Grace Napolitano, Josh Thomas Team Up on Mental Health

Posted September 8, 2014 at 11:57am

Call us crazy, but the “Please Like Me” screening and subsequent discussion on the current state of mental health affairs co-hosted by actor/show creator Josh Thomas and Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on Tuesday sounds like it could actually be interesting.  

The edutainment outreach, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in Rayburn 2103, is coming to Congress courtesy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Participant Media.  

For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ droll coming-of-age saga, the fledgling show (airing Friday nights on the youth-oriented Pivot network) centers on a 20-something child of divorce suddenly forced to wrestle with his sexual identity. Part of the growth process involves dealing with oddball friends and family members — including his off-kilter mum.  

The “Rose” character has some issues she’s dealing with — cast bios describe Rose as a bipolar empty-nester struggling with adjusting to her new “normal” (“She seems to have found a nice equilibrium, but for how long?”) — many of which the show naturally plays up for laughs.  

According to Team Napolitano, the California Democrat appreciates the way Josh and Rose get on. “The relationship between the lead character, Josh, and his mother is helping to eliminate stigma by approaching the subject of mental illness in a thoughtful manner,” a Napolitano aide told HOH about the heart-felt moments shared by the quirk-filled duo. Per Thomas, addressing mental illness in an honest and approachable manner is something the show takes very seriously.  

“On the outside you can’t see my struggle, but I assure you it is there,” cast member Charlotte Nicdao (“Jenny”) relays during a reading of real-life confessions those dealing with mental health issues shared with show creators.  

The trip to Capitol Hill is part of NAMI/Participant Media’s ongoing “Say Something” campaign , an advocacy effort calling for legislative action on a comprehensive mental health bill.