Actress Glenn Close on mission to start conversations about mental health in Michigan

WDIV Local 4's Kimberly Gill sat down with Close

DETROIT – For generations, those with mental health problems have dealt with them in silence, and that includes legendary actress Glenn Close.

Recently, WDIV Local 4's Kimberly Gill sat down with Close and spoke with her about why she's now on a mission to get people to start discussing mental health issues.

Most people recognize Close from her role in the movie "Fatal Attraction," where she plays Alex Forest, a mistress whose affection turns into obsession when she can't have her way.

The character's behavior does appear to signify a mental illness, though it went unnamed in the film.

"If I was given that script today, I would fight for more of an indication as to why she behaved the way she did," Close said. "I'd say I think the real issue is to tell the story from her point of view, because I think it would end as a tragedy, and she would not be considered one of the great villains of the 20th century."

Mental illness runs in Close's family. Her sister has bipolar disorder, and her nephew was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"I really care about the issues that will help families get help. And we all, all three of us, have gone down to Washington to advocate there. So it's just something that I'm taking on because of my family."

Close is taking it on by starring in a new role as a real-life advocate, working to change minds about mental illness and end the stigma surrounding it.

"There's a big stigma out there, and it means that people don't talk. People don't talk when they feel they need help, and people don't approach people who they think need help. So, a lot of people are falling through the cracks, and it's incredibly expensive."

"People who need help end up in our ERs and in jail, and the terrible cycle begins. And so the way I look at it, humans, our brain is (a) phenomenal organ. And we still, there's so much about it that we don't know. Our brain makes us human."

In addition to lobbying lawmakers for more funding Close founded the organization Bring Change To Mind. It's a club that can be found in nearly 200 schools nationwide, mostly high schools, and it helps teens talk about issues they may be dealing with.

"A lot of kids get diagnosed or have their first break or have issues become unmanageable when they're in their mid-to late teens, going to college. And I think, so we felt that was a really, really good place to start. To arm them for going to college, which can be a, you know, anxious, anxiety-ridden time."

The Bring Change to Mind club also works to educate its members and others about mental illness.

"I think in a perfect world, with the early interventions that people are now researching, you can know about a possible mental health issue when a child is much younger than high school. But I think high school, going to college, is a time where a lot of mental health issues kick in."

Close said she's in talks with a nonprofit in Michigan to establish the Bring Change to Mind club in high schools here.

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