September 6, 2017
As part of the program of the 1st Annual Big Sky Behavioral Health Summit, Keynote speaker Jessie Close, with sisters Glenn Close and Tina Close, made a special visit to the University of Montana Western on Sep. 6, in order to raise awareness and break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
Jessie Close is a nationally renowned mental health advocate, prominent speaker, and critically acclaimed author of the book “Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness.” Jessie Close is also the sister of six-time Academy Award nominated actress Glenn Close, who is a co-founder of the non-profit organization “Bring Change to Mind.”
Jessie Close’s address was an inspiring and heartfelt account of her struggle and eventual recovery from mental illness and addiction. Jessie Close credits the incredible support of her family combined with proper treatment as instrumental to her recovery. She also had an important message for the summit attendees. “Please be a champion for mental health and sobriety, and reach out to someone who is struggling. And if you yourself are struggling, please reach out and get help,” she said.
According to her sisters, Tina Close and Glenn Close, it takes a huge amount of courage to speak up and be honest about mental illness. “I’m so glad that Jessie wrote the book,” said oldest sibling Tina Close. “I’m learning so much about what she went through.”
All four siblings now have residences close to Jessie Close, and this network of family support is crucial to someone with mental illness. “We need to be open and unafraid when it comes to talking about mental illness,” said Glenn Close. “The amount of courage my sister has is huge, and more families need to talk about mental illness together.”
In addition to the Keynote address, the Howard Gaines Service Award was presented to Julie Ingram for her outstanding work in the mental health field. Ms. Ingram has helped patients in crisis for many years at Barrett Hospital and Healthcare and recently implemented an Art Therapy program for residents of the Kindred Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
To learn more about starting the conversation and ending the stigma surrounding mental illness, visit http://bringchange2mind.org/.