Writing yesterday about the film Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close, reminded me of an important organization that she co-founded, Bring Change 2 Mind, that aims to combat stigma against mental illness.
From the Bring Change 2 Mind website, an explanation of mental health stigma: “Stigma is broadly defined as a collection of adverse and unfair beliefs. The stigma around mental health most often leads to the inaccurate and hurtful objectification of people as dangerous and incompetent. The shame and isolation associated with stigma prevent people from seeking the help necessary to live healthy and full lives.”
Shown below is a moving PSA shot at Grand Central Station in 2009 on behalf of this organization’s efforts. It was created with the assistance of director Ron Howard and involves many volunteers representing various mental health issues. Among those featured are Close, her sister Jessie–who suffers from bipolar disorder–and their kids.
Apparently, Jessie wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder until the age of 47. During the process of seeking help for her then-teenage son, Calen, she finally learned what had been going on with her own brain chemistry much of her life. It turned out that her son, by the way, suffers from schizoaffective disorder, which is a type of mood disorder that also involves some loss of contact with reality. (Source: “On the Couch…With Jessie Close,” Dr. Deborah Serani.)
Below is a chilling second PSA:
Men often face the challenges of mental health stigma and thus are part of a targeted Bring Change 2 Mind campaign called #StrongerThanStigma. The website states that featured are four “inspirational male figures from professional sports leagues, television, and the music industry who have each made mental health advocacy a part of their platform.”
They are Brandon Marshall, pro footballer; Ben Scrivens, pro hockey goalie; Michael Angelakos, lead singer of Passion Pit; and Wayne Brady, actor and comedian. “Each man either lives with a mental health diagnosis or has chosen to serve as an empathetic advocate, and shares his story and encourages men to start the conversation and end the stigma.”