Actress Glenn Close, Sen. Debbie Stabenow join Local 4 discussion about mental health

Panelists familiar with mental health issues join conversation

DETROIT - Local 4 hosted a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the critical issue of confronting the challenges of mental health.

Local 4 medical expert Dr. Frank McGeorge moderated the discussion, which centered around a complex problem people see on a regular basis.

In the emergency room, McGeorge regularly sees what happens when mental health problems aren't managed well or when someone has a crisis without the resources to manage it. Ideally, people with mental health issues shouldn't get to the point of being in the emergency room, and that's where awareness and resources come to bear.

The focus of Tuesday's talk was that it's OK to not be OK.

The panel included people deeply familiar with the pain and stigma of mental health issues, including actress Glenn Close.

"It was actually my sister, Jessie, who came to me one day out of the blue," Close said. "We had been visiting my parents and she said, 'I need your help. I can't stop thinking about killing myself.'"

Close co-founded the nonprofit Bring Change To Mind and has joined forces with Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

"I grew up with a dad who was misdiagnosed multiple times and finally diagnosed correctly as being what we now call bipolar," Stabenow said. "When we say comprehensive health care, we should mean health care above the neck as well as health care below the neck."

 Sam Lippert, who lost a friend to suicide, is urging young people to ask for help.

"If I can save one kid, that's one less family that has to grieve," Lippert said.

Lori Doyle said she battled depression after losing her son. She's now a peer support coordinator.

"We're there to give them hope and let them know that you can move on in your life," Doyle said. "Your life can be good."

"Start the conversation, and just by starting the conversation and making people feel they're not alone, they don't have to be full of shame, they don't have to be fearful -- that will literally save lives," Close said.

A lot of pain and suffering can be prevented if mental health issues are addressed early. Talking about the problem is the first step.

You can watch the full roundtable discussion below.

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