Guideposts latest issue carries an article written by Actress Glenn Close about how she decided to light and carry the torch for those people suffering from mental illness, to pull people out of the mental illness stigma and come forward for badly needed treatment and therapy. A side bar in the article gives a public service web site which runs a video her sister Jessie and Jessie’s son Calen, along with others in her family, made for www.BringChange2Mind.org . In the video, they talk about their problems and about getting help. It was filmed at Grand Central Station in order to expose the sheer numbers of people affected- one in four adults which translates to half a million people who rush through GCS everyday. This was a real revelation to me. Imagine that on a national or global scale and you have a virtual epidemic that people still have a difficult time discussing with their friends or people who could help.
She further states in the article that mental illness was rife in her family but was underscored and minimized for many years because of the stigma to the point that Glenn herself did not grasp the weight of the situation despite the obvious signs. During this past decade her nineteen year old nephew, Calen, being diagnosed as having Schizoaffective Disorder opened up the dialogue between herself and her sister. During the discussion, her sister Jessie confessed that she had similar symptoms to Calen’s (and had for many years) which led to both of them receiving treatment. I’m sure Glenn’s sympathetic ear and her research on mental illness, through her work, helped her be a empathetic support to both.
Glenn’s involvement with a NYC organization, which helps the mentally ill get education, jobs and housing, Fountain House, also runs a center which makes a community for these people in need of special help. Based on her familiarity with them and her family’s help they decided to make a video so people will seek treatment for coping and possible recovery.
I personally applaud the effort Ms. Close has made because the stigma of mental illness in a family is so prevalent- even today. In order for people to live their best lives and be able to function a necessary step is to acknowledge the signs, confront and get help. You can view a recommended reading list from Glenn at www.Guideposts.com/gcbooklist to get started. This is the first true outreach I’ve seen on the subject, so check it out and give it some support even if you can’t relate and if you can… bon courage !
Many hugs, kisses and high fives from
The Castle Lady