Monday, March 07, 2011

Do You Know Who Jessie Close is?

Jessie Close didn't know she was living with a Mood Disorder until she was 47 years old. Up until then, the younger sister of Hollywood legend, Glenn Close, endured "depressions, suicide attempts and alcoholism for nearly as long as she can remember."

While on a quest to accurately diagnose behavioral changes in her teenage son, Calen, Jessie found answers to long-asked questions regarding her own life experiences. She discovered that she was experiencing Bipolar Disorder. Her son, meanwhile, learned he was living with Schizoaffective Disorder.

Jessie shared this information with her brother and sisters, and bit by bit they traced the heritage lines of mental illness on both sides of the family. The discovery of mental illness didn't make them feel ashamed. In fact, just the opposite. It brought light to family stories and historical accounts. It made sense.

Over the last few years, Jessie Close has taken her personal life journey public. Together with her son, Calen, now in his 30's, her daughter, Mattie, her service dog, Snitz, and her actress sister, Glenn, she is helping bring awareness about mental illness. And debunking stigma along the way.

BringChange2Mind was created by Glenn Close in response to stigma her sister, Jessie, and her nephew, Calen, experienced. The message on the website is a powerful one, and I share it below:

"1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness can be as great a challenge as the disease itself. This is where the misconceptions stop. This is where bias comes to an end. This is where we change lives. Because this is where we Bring Change 2 Mind."

To learn more about Jessie Close and BringChange2Mind go here


Sarebear said...

Wow. Talk about using your celebrity for something GOOD. While I hate to see that anyone has to suffer from any condition, that's part of life and kudos to them for seeing that they can speak out to reduce stigma, and to her sister for using her celebrity to do even more than just speak out. This is something I will wholeheartedly support; I am all about spreading the word on reducing stigma!!!

Anonymous said...

I only wish more people would open thier minds and learn about mental illness and the signs that go with it. Give a person with a mental disability the benefit of understanding, it may save thier life.

Wanda's Wings said...

Wow that makes me feel more normal and not as guilty for passing some mental illness to my own children.

S'onnie said...

Its great to see celebrities doing this kind of thing or supporting it as people really look up to them. NZ has some sporting heros who do this and it has apparenly had a huge impact on people being more open to discussing, getting help or helping others with mental healt issues

blogbehave said...

Thank you Jessie Close for being brave enough to speak out. Bipolar, in particular, is so often misunderstood as willful rebellion.

Anonymous said...

Good for her and her candor in getting past the stigma so that others can be helped.

As an aside, her sister has always been one of my favorite actresses.

UnmotheredChild said...

There is such shame around mental illness. I know I feel deeply ashamed of being mentally wired wrong.

Dr. Deb said...

Isn't that a great story?!

Educating and debunking stigma can be life saving, you're right.

You shouldn't feel guilty about your genetics.

I know your country does a lot more about stigma than most countries!

I love when high profile people do good things. I share your sentiments.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Unmothered Child,
There is stigma around mental illness because most people don't truly understand that it is a real medical illness. I hope that you will come to *not* feel shame about your own vulnerabilities. No one is perfect. We all have something with which we have to deal with.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Mr. Writeon,
It's a great things, I agree. And Glenn Close is so very talented. I'm learning that her sister, Jessie and Jessie's own children have special talents in their own right too.