• Press Release

Saturday Night Live Veteran Darrell Hammond, Filmmaker Michelle Esrick, and Mount Sinai Psychologist Jacob Ham, PhD, Discuss Childhood Trauma on the Road to Resilience Podcast

Listen as they explore the complex symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and strategies for healing

  • New York, NY
  • (April 24, 2019)

Click here to listen.

On the latest episode of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Road to Resilience podcast, comedian Darrell Hammond and filmmaker Michelle Esrick sit down with Jacob Ham, PhD, a clinical psychologist and Director of the Center for Child Trauma and Resilience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, to discuss childhood trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and healing.

“It's almost as if my brain is doing military preparedness drills,” Mr. Hammond says, describing his complex PTSD on Road to Resilience. “There's not a real war going on, but my brain is going to stay ready just in case somebody comes into the room with a hammer.” His experience with trauma, addiction, and recovery is explored in a new documentary film, Cracked Up, directed and produced by Ms. Esrick.

A regular cast member for 14 seasons on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Hammond entertained millions with his spot-on impersonations of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Sean Connery, and others. But behind the scenes he endured debilitating flashbacks, substance abuse, and self-harm. Misdiagnosed and medicated for decades, it wasn’t until Mr. Hammond was in his 50s that he finally received the correct diagnosis: childhood trauma.

On Road to Resilience, Mr. Hammond, Ms. Esrick, and Dr. Ham discuss the long-term health effects of childhood trauma, how to deal with triggers in daily life, and the ways loved ones can support survivors in their recovery.

“We all either have our own trauma, or we know somebody with trauma. We’re just all connected to it,” Ms. Esrick says. “If you want to help somebody, listen with love and curiosity, and be willing to believe what’s being said, even if it’s hard or painful.”

Dr. Ham said on Road to Resilience, “[Psychologists] still focus on big ‘T’ traumas—like combat and sexual violence—but it’s the day-to-day neglect that is most impactful on the person’s ability to have loving relationships and connection with other human beings.”

Cracked Up explores the lifelong effects of childhood trauma, addiction and recovery through Mr. Hammond’s inspiring story. It features extensive interviews with Mr. Hammond, as well as leading trauma experts such as Bessel van der Kolk, MD, psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

Road to Resilience brings you stories and insights to help you thrive in a challenging world. From fighting burnout and trauma to building resilient families and communities, the podcast explores what’s possible when science meets the human spirit. To listen, visit Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, Google Play, or the Road to Resilience website.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai advances medicine and health through unrivaled education and translational research and discovery to deliver care that is the safest, highest-quality, most accessible and equitable, and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 415 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the top 20 U.S. hospitals and is top in the nation by specialty: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” among the country’s best in four out of 10 pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and No. 14 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.