Actress Glenn Close has taken part in a new campaign to try to reduce the stigma around depression and mental illness.
The Fatal Attraction star is involved in a series named #MindfulAllies which, according to Mashable, highlights stories from people who experience mental illness. Close, along with others involved, are speaking out to educate people and end stigma around mental health.
The acting veteran speaks candidly to the site about dealing with mental illness for most of her life, having only been diagnosed with depression eight years ago. “I never realised that maybe I could get a little help,” she said.
The now 68-year-old said her diagnosis was as much a surprise to her as anyone else; she thought she had Attention Deficit Disorder initially. “I felt this inertia that would come over me,” she said. “You think of something and it just seems too much, too hard. That’s how it manifested in me.”
“I have learned that I have been living with mild depression for probably most of my life. When I couldn’t concentrate, overwhelmed by the simplest tasks — wheels spinning — I thought I had some form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Upon being tested, I was told that I was depressed.”
Close, like fellow actress Lena Dunham openly admitted she now takes medication to help her deal with the depression, and as been an advocate for mental illness for quite some time; she founded Bring Change 2 Mind just under six years ago. It’s comprised of various organisations that provide service, screening, support, treatment and information about mental illnesses.
The foundation came about for an extremely personal reason. As well as her own journey, many of her close family members, including her sister and nephew went through similar struggles. In an open essay, the star details that a lack of conversation surrounding mental wellbeing was “very costly.” Close said her sister started exhibiting warning signs from a young age, but because her family had “no vocabulary” for any mental illness at the time, it went largely unnoticed and manifested as she grew up.
She explained that her awareness really began the day her sister came to her directly , asking for help, and said it is this aspect – of reaching out to others rather than suffering in silence – that remains so important.
“No one should feel alone or ashamed. We are all in this together.”
“I hope more families will have the courage to talk openly about the mental health challenges they face. In our communities, starting within each family, we need to be vigilant and to err on the side of sensitive and compassionate intervention if we notice someone isolating themselves, being marginalised and made to feel ashamed,” she said.
“As a society, it is imperative that we educate ourselves about mental health issues, that we realise that those suffering from bipolar disorder or serious depression or cancer or diabetes — any chronic illness — are worthy of our compassion, empathy and respect.”
Her words are emotive and powerful. Close is one of many celebrities – Bressie, The Rock and Lady Gaga to name a few – who have opened up to try to help end the stigma that still exists today, and we can only hope conversation continues in this vain. You never know who will find their voice just from listening to, and reading these inspirational stories.