Screen and stage star Glenn Close, and an advocate for people with mental illness, is the moving force behind a public awareness campaign to undue stigma.
With every-day people, professionally filmed videos, and huge media attention, Close's Bring Change to Mind his drawn millions in the hopes of bringing understanding mental illnesses. The website states 2.75 million in a little more than one week.
Stigma is toxic, a brigadier general says in one of six video episodes. Close and her sister, Jessie, appear in another, all of which were directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard. Howard explains (below) the importance of this in a seventh, using background footage showing cameras, crowds and staging in Grand Central Station, one of New York City's symbolic meeting spots.
The message is unambiguous: mental illnesses affect us all and it's time to go public. And what could be more public than Grand Central Station? The paired conversations are between friends and family -- people who have been stopped by stigma and fear before disclosing illnesses such as bipolar, schizohprenia, PTSD, or depression -- side-by-side. They wear T-shirts saying, "bipolar," "cousin," or "better half."A palpable buzz has been generated leading to nearly 3 million hits to the site Bring Change 2 Mind. The videos were released 10 days ago accompanied by appearances on ABC's Good Morning America,and The View, and an op-ed in the Huffington Post.
Celebrities with these disorders have a unique opportunity to promote acceptance and focus attention stigma otherwise mutes: Mike Wallace, Brooke Shields, Jane Pauley, and, very early Patty Duke, have paved the way, and Glenn Close and her sister Jessie are now among them.