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Glenn Close: How You Can Help Fight The Stigma of "Mentally Ill"

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posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 12:41 PM

Over 57.7 million Americans -- 26 percent of the country -- live with a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Yet two-thirds of those affected never seek treatment in large part due to the stigma of being labeled "mentally ill," and the resulting discrimination in social relationships, housing and employment. Tragically, every 17 minutes someone in American commits suicide, 90 percent of whom are living with some form of mental illness. Mental illnesses remain the leading cause of disability in the U.S., costing society over $190 billion annually. With one in four families having a family member living with a mental illness, there is also a hidden cost -- the drain on productive work by family members caring for loved ones.

So we present the BringChange2Mind Principles to you today. Your signing on to them will make a difference. You will be helping to create a future in which shame is replaced with dignity, misinformation with truth, discrimination with understanding and isolation with community.

Read the whole link -- it includes those principles which define their mission.

A few days ago Hefficide began en excellent thread on the subject of mental illness. I am posting this because it comes at the problem in a slightly different way. It addresses the subject of concrete actions that people can take to combat the stigma associated with this disease.

I, for one, am a little skeptical about PR campaigns, which often are just a way for celebrities to keep themselves in the spotlight. I wish BringChange2Mind the best of success -- its goals are noble and if it can change even some attitudes for the better -- great.

As I mentioned in Hefficide's thread, I myself have been diagnosed with a treatable mental illness, but I am very careful about who I tell this to. I am afraid of the person recoiling in horror (my particular illness is often portrayed in the media as one which turns people into homicidal maniacs) and not really trusting my judgment or ability to deal with real life.

Lately I have been a little more open about it. In particular I tell anybody I am becoming close to and let them know what to do for me should I have an episode. I feel they have a right to know. As for friends or potential friends, it is a way for me to sort the gold from the dross. I cherish those who accept me for who I am and realize they are above-average human beings.

I have some reservations about organizations like this one, though. I myself have been to a few NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and find them very limited in what they do or try to do. On a national level, though, they have been among those pushing hardest for legislation that would enable people who are diagnosed with a mental illness to get better medical coverage and better care in general.

I would like your comments and feedback on BriingChange2Mind and how effective you think they might be in achieving their (admittedly admirable) goals.

posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 01:12 PM
I look forward to a time when there is no stigma attached to mental illness.

It always seems strange, almost unbelievable, that in the 21st Century, there is some weird cloudy shadow that is socially attached to illness of this nature.

I hope that when I am old I can look back and see this as a dim and distant memory, like someone looking back to when women did not have the vote - it just seems ridiculous in the fullness of time.

Pioneers is what these people are - fighting the stigma, explaining and putting forward logical arguments, so that the stigma of mental illness will hopefully be destroyed.

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