×

Glenn Close Fights to End Mental Illness Stigma With Bring Change 2 Mind

Glenn Close is one of Variety’s Power of Women New York honorees. For more profiles on the honorees, click here.

Glenn Close still remembers the day that her younger sister approached her with a terrifying secret: “I can’t stop thinking about killing myself,” Jessie Close confided to Glenn roughly 10 years ago.

Billy Kidd for Variety
 

After doctors diagnosed Jessie with bipolar disorder, and Jessie’s son, Calen Pick, with schizoaffective disorder, Close was determined to learn more about mental illness. She volunteered at the New York recovery center Fountain House, and in 2010 started the nonprofit Bring Change 2 Mind to raise awareness.

“We thought the best thing to do was work against the stigma that surrounds mental illness,” Close says, noting that one in four people are affected by it. “It’s a chronic illness like anything else.”

Bring Change 2 Mind aims to start a conversation. Close tapped her friend Ron Howard to direct the org’s first PSA, which stars the Oscar-nominated actress alongside Jessie, as well as other people wearing the names of their diseases on T-shirts. Since then, an estimated 1 billion have viewed online the PSAs, which have featured Wayne Brady and NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall sharing their stories. The Close sisters have used many forums to talk about their mission, from a Washington, D.C., summit to NPR to People magazine.

Close says she recently had an epiphany when she saw her nephew. “He would wear these dark glasses. He had this frightening look in his eyes. I was telling him, six months ago, he had lost that look. He said, ‘Do you know what that was? I was terrified.’ ”

Jessie says she couldn’t be more proud of her big sister, adding, “I would say Glenn is really my hero as far as stepping up to the plate and doing something about the stigma.”

Adds Pamela Harrington, the executive director of Bring Change 2 Mind: “She was really one of the first public figures to speak out in mental health advocacy world. She’s been a really great beacon of hope for so many people.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content