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In an effort to bring mental illness into everyday dialogue, Glenn Close co-created the Bring Change 2 Mind campaign and, with the help of director Ron Howard, created a public service announcement pointing out how common such illnesses really are.

The first problem about awareness, even though one in six adults suffer from one form or another, is that mental illness is invisible. The other problem is the stigma attached to it.

“I think a lot of people will find that it’s kind of a relief to simply acknowledge that mental health issues are something every family deals with,” says Howard, “and yet it clearly does still remain stigmatized.”

The stigma is so powerful that it causes many sufferers of illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder to go undiagnosed, and therefore remain without the help that is available to them. Close’s sister, Jessie, whose bipolar disorder was not diagnosed until she was 47, sees it as very damaging: “We face a stigma that can be as painful as the disease itself.”

Often the result of ignorance, stigma can simply come from not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do, or not even knowing if someone is afflicted, and that’s what Close is addressing through the Bring Change 2 Mind campaign. She wants people to get past the fear and get on with the treatment.

“Change a mind about mental illness and you can change a life,” says Close. “It’s just the beginning. Words are very powerful.”
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