About our Film
Our story focuses on Brendan O'Toole, a former Marine, and his struggle to assimilate back into society after returning from war. As he sets out to run across America to raise awareness and "to find goodness in himself", he meets a therapist, Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen. Barbara started a non profit to work with veterans to help them heal by sharing their stories and ‘stop suffering in silence’. As she works with Brendan and thousands of veterans across the country, she comes to the realization that she needs share her own story. “ I kept asking them to share their stories and I realized I am hiding my own. We all need to tell our stories and break down the stigma which faces one in five Americans who suffer from mental health issues.” Barbara’s mother had a psychotic break when Barbara was a young girl and she has not seen her mother in 40 years. Not only does Barbara share her story publically for the first time, she begins a search for her mother who is lost on the streets of America. Our cameras are present over the course of two years of filming Brendan’s run across the country and Barbara’s dramatic discovery.
Ultimately this is a film about trust…the trust we put in one another so we can feel safe to tell our stories. Brendan and Barbara inspire others in the film to tell their deeply personal stories, including stories about the loss of loved ones to suicide and the shame and guilt which often haunts those left behind. The film’s purpose is simple and direct: to serve as a conversation starter for millions of people to change the culture around mental health and mental illness.
All contributions are tax deductible
Together, Brendan and Barbara's stories set a courageous example of how we can start to change the conversation in this country about PTS and mental health.