The ‘West Wing’ cast urges struggling Americans to seek help


WASHINGTON (TBEN) — As more Americans struggle with depression and anxiety, the cast of “The West Wing” teamed up with the Biden administration on Thursday to share a simple message: You’re not alone.

The star-studded cast of the drama series who, even years after being off the air, still maintain a strong fan base, took part in a roundtable with the White House to share their own stories of child abuse, isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and struggles to help their kids navigate the terrifying world of social media.

Through it all, five cast members of “The West Wing” said that talking to friends, family, and even each other helped them through the darkest moments.

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“Community is key to all of this,” said actor Martin Sheen, who served as the drama series’ US president.

Actor Bradley Whitford, who played the role of Deputy Chief of Staff to the President on the TV show, opened up publicly about a female teacher who he said was “very physically inappropriate” decades ago when he was in sixth grade.

“I knew it had happened, but I didn’t know how to talk about it,” said Whitford. “I found a very, very safe place where I could talk about it. I’ll never get over the fact that this happened to me, but by naming it, giving it perspective, I’m not still caught up in it.”

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Whitford and his castmates urged other Americans struggling with their mental health to also lean on those closest to them through their trying times. About 4 in 10 American adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression last year, a trend that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actor Dulé Hill zoomed in from the set of “The Wonder Years” reboot and said he has struggled with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important that we just keep engaging each other, seeing each other and our humanity,” Hill said. “I can still feel isolated and alone. But I want you to know that you are not alone. I am not alone, and together we will find our way to our brighter future.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra reminded those listening to the talk show that they can also call the recently launched 988 hotline to talk to someone if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts, a crisis or depression.

The three-digit 988 line connects callers to trained mental health counselors. The federal government has provided more than $280 million to help states create the system.