Glenn Close was at the White House today to take part in a panel as part of the National Conference on Mental Health.
The panel focused on how addressing negative attitudes about mental illness is essential to making sure more people seek help; what we know about why these attitudes exist and the misperceptions they are grounded in; and what we can do to break down the barriers preventing too many people from seeking the help they need.
Also in attendance was Bradley Cooper.
During the conference, President Obama applauded the dozens of commitments made by organizations representing media, educators, health care providers, faith communities, and foundations to increase understanding and awareness of mental health.
The Obama Administration has taken a number of steps to raise awareness and improve care for Americans experiencing mental health issues, including expanding mental health coverage for millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act, improving access to mental health services for veterans and supporting initiatives to help educators recognize and refer students who show signs of mental illness.
The National Conference on Mental Health is designed to increase understanding and awareness of mental health. As part of this effort, today the Administration is launching mentalhealth.gov, a new, consumer-friendly website with clear and concise tools to help with the basics of mental health, the signs of mental illness, how to talk about mental health, and how to get help. The website also includes a series of videos featuring celebrities and ordinary Americans whose lives have been touched by mental illness.
In 2009 Glenn Co-Founded Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. The idea for this movement evolved out of Ms. Close’s first-hand observation of battles with mental illness within her family. Ms. Close’s sister, Jessie, is living with bipolar disorder and Jessie’s son, Calen, is living with schizoaffective disorder. Bring Change 2 Mind produces science based Public Service Announcements aimed at tackling the stigma and discrimination of mental illness where they live – in all of us.
Several commitments were made as part of the conference, including launching new efforts to raise public awareness through television, radio, social media campaigns, and other platforms.
• The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), representing local television and radio stations and broadcast networks throughout the country, is creating a national public service campaign to reduce the stigma around mental illness. The multiplatform campaign, launching this summer, will include TV and radio ads, online ads and resources and a robust social media platform to raise awareness – specifically among 13-24 year olds, their friends and caregivers – that it’s okay to talk about mental health and help is available.
• Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization created by military families to strengthen military families and connect America to her military, is producing a second series of public service announcements entitled “This Country Cares,” featuring country music stars telling our military heroes with mental health problems that they are not alone and encouraging them to seek help if they are struggling with these issues.
• As part of their Love is Louder campaign, MTV and The Jed Foundation will promote help seeking and challenge the stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging members of MTV’s audience to take any action that supports their or a friend’s emotional health, and then share that action with @LoveisLouder. MTV will amplify the best responses through several of its social media channels, which in total reach nearly 160 million fans and followers.
• The Entertainment Software Association and leading video game companies Activision Blizzard, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., Bethesda Softworks, Blizzard Entertainment Inc., and Microsoft Corporation will promote consumer resources for mental health and wellness information through their consumer web sites and online communities, which reach tens of millions of people every month.
• Other organizations committing to help raise awareness through television, film, and social media include the Entertainment Industries Council, Facebook, Google, SchoolTube, and Twitter.