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Falcon And Winter Soldier Actress On The Importance Of Bucky's Therapy - Exclusive

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could have gone in a lot of directions. Luckily for fans everyone behind the scenes and in front of the camera was determined to create a show that manages to be fun while making critical statements. Whether it's the incredible work that Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson does to tackle societal problems like racism or showrunner Malcolm Spellman giving Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) the space to work through his PTSD, this series matters. Viewers are used to seeing plenty of action in major Marvel films, but we rarely see what happens after the dust settles. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has changed that, and fans couldn't be happier. 

Looper spoke to Amy Aquino — who plays Bucky's therapist Dr. Raynor — for an exclusive interview. She opened up about the importance of therapy, combatting the mental health stigma, and how we need to help those suffering in the real world.

Please, ask for help

On Bucky's mandated counseling, Amy Aquino said, "I think that what is great about what Marvel is doing in putting Bucky into therapy is acknowledging that none of this happens in a vacuum. That when you're a soldier, whether you've had HYDRA do nasty things to you or [you're] just a soldier and you're being sent out and expected to shoot at people and kill them, that you're still a person and that still takes a toll on you."

Sadly, fictional characters aren't the only ones facing this epidemic, as Aquino notes; real-life veterans are affected by war, something that's finally being acknowledged. "When you've been through trauma, oftentimes, you need help."

Aquino noted that Bucky's trauma is compounded by acting against his will. "It's bad enough — he's had to kill people that he knew needed to die, or aliens or whatever. But when he's had to do this, and he knows he's caused so much pain and he didn't have control over it, but he still was in himself doing it, and he has memories of it. That's huge." That's enough to make anyone feel hopeless, but even in the darkest times, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is smashing the stigma

Amy Aquino thinks Bucky would be in a much worse place without getting help. "I mean, if he didn't get therapy, he would probably be dead, as so many of our vets ended up being," she said. As a proponent of therapy, she really appreciates the value Marvel is providing by giving light to the very real problems of poor mental health. "[A] mental health problem is like a physical health problem. You've got the problem [and] you deal with it. [It's] nothing to be embarrassed about it. You're not embarrassed about going to get stitches if you get a cut [on] your hand. Do it," Aquino added. The number of people who die each year as a result of the stigma against therapy is a sad testament to how harmful this mindset can be — and Bucky proves that.

"Well, it's clear that Bucky certainly needs the most help. And that's where Raynor's focus is — where he did indeed literally wake up and was somebody that he wasn't. The first time it was in a bad way. And now it's in a better way," Aquino clarified. "But he's not somebody else. He is still himself. It was still him going through all these things. So what he needs to do is put together these different pieces of himself." For anyone going through a hard time, these free international resources can help.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs on Fridays on Disney+.