A week or two ago I stumbled upon an article that intrigued me by Glenn Close. Yes, the celebrity Glenn Close.
“Mental Illness: The Stigma of Silence” discusses both Hollywood’s portrayal of mental illness and the steps Close has taken to try and help alleviate the stigma around mental illness. Close has a sister with bipolar disorder, and a nephew with schizophrenia.
More interesting to me, though, is the group that she helped found called Bring Change 2 Mind.
I held off on writing about it because it seemed like the perfect topic for the new year.
I’m not one for making resolutions, especially when so many people associate new years resolutions with dieting. BUT, I encourage you to visit bringchange2mind.org and consider taking the pledge.
Bring Change 2 Mind is all about helping erase the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
The website boasts two goals:
- Provide people who have misconceptions about mental illness quick and easy access to information that combats stigma.
- Provide people who have mental illness, and those who know them, quick and easy access to information and support.
The Pledge is for anyone who is living with a mental illness, knows someone with a mental illness, or anyone who just wants to help. The goal is to make a change one person at a time.
Here’s the pledge, taken directly from the website:
I pledge to follow the Bring Change 2 Mind principles:
For people living with mental illness:
- I am living with a mental illness that is treatable and manageable.
- I am a valuable and valued person and I deserve to be treated with respect.
- I am responsible for the decisions and choices I make in my life.
- Educating myself about the symptoms of my illness, and any side effects I may have from treatment, will help me find and use the resources I need to work toward stability.
- Communicating about my experiences with others will help them support me in difficult times and keep me “on track.”
- If I am feeling suicidal, it is critical that I reach out for help, for in the face of real pain and suffering, it is others who can help me with a commitment to live.
- I can reduce stigma in myself and in others by being open about living with mental illness, naming it out loud, and raising people’s awareness.
- It is likely that someone I know is living with a mental illness and that fear of stigma may be preventing them from accepting their illness and seeking help.
- I can make a difference by learning about mental health issues and the devastating effects of stigma.
- If someone I know exhibits sudden changes in behavior, I will pay attention and reach out to them.
- If someone I know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, I will take it seriously and make every effort to ensure they get help.
- I will not perpetuate or tolerate stigma of any kind and will commit myself to changing the way society views people living with mental illness.
The website has a form you can submit in order to solidify your pledge, and I encourage anyone who is serious about helping erase stigma to check it out.
We need your help in order to make change, please consider ringing in the new year with a pledge to improve the lives of those living with mental illness. I made the pledge, will you?