Glenn Close, Sister Help Launch Mental-Health Conference
Award-winning actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close helped turn the spotlight today on the dire need to break down debilitating stigma that creates barriers for people with mental illness on Day 1 of an international conference in Ottawa.
Nearly 600 of the world's top researchers, mental health professionals, policy makers and people with lived experience are meeting in Ottawa from June 4-6 for Together Against Stigma: Changing How We See Mental Illness -- a three-day conference organized by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the World Psychiatric Association Scientific Section on Stigma and Mental Illness.
Close, her younger sister, Jessie Close, and nephew, Calen Pick, helped open the conference by speaking about the damaging effects of stigma on families. The subject is near to the heart of Close, who three years ago launched an organization working to eradicate the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness after her sister and nephew successfully fought a life-and-death battle with mental illness.
Close told the audience she was participating in the conference not as an actress, but as a daughter, a sister, an aunt and an advocate, pushing for improvements to a health system that discriminates against those with mental illness.
"I want to make a difference -- a science-based, lasting difference. That's why we're here today," she said.