Bring Change 2 Mind

12/19/2012

Working together to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Howard,

Like—I’m sure—all of you, I have gone through these days since the unspeakable

tragedy in Sandy Hook with a feeling of profound sorrow, thinking of the families

who lost their children, of the immensity and torment of their grief.

As an actress, my craft has taught me to imagine myself walking in the shoes of

other human beings—seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, feeling what

they feel. But when I try to imagine what the Sandy Hook families are experiencing,

my mind stops at what feels like a breaking point. I think it’s because I had the

great joy and privilege of raising a child and any thought of the tragedy takes me

back immediately to when she was in Kindergarten. I remember how original,

spontaneous and wonderfully opinionated she was and so funny! The outfits she

concocted!

The shows she put on! I think of how sweet and loyal she was to her friends; how

caring and solicitous of all animals that became a part of our household. I think

of the sweet smell of her hair and the softness of her skin. I think of her endless

sense of wonder and her effortless capacity for joy.

It is so easy to let our thoughts sink to a place of rage, terror and despair, but I

choose to take my memories about all that was and is good, beautiful and fearless

about my child and to add them to our collective memory—to everything that

connects us. To everything that is good. I believe that we can collectively

connect to the Sandy Hook families—to all families who have experienced trauma

and tragedy—and become a healing force for good.

I also think of Jessie, my sister, and her son Calen and how terrifying it was when

Calen fell ill with schizoaffective disorder. They both have talked about what it is

like to become ill with something that you know nothing about and how having the

courage to seek help has changed their lives—all of our lives.

A tragedy like Sandy Hook can tend to solidify people’s fears and prejudices about

mental illness. So it is of vital importance that we, as a community, re-dedicate

ourselves to eliminating the stigma that effects 1 in 4 people in our country.

We must educate ourselves about mental illnesses—starting with

“the big four”—schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, serious depression and

post-traumatic stress—and talk openly. We must be aware of the dangers that

can occur when someone goes undiagnosed as well as the very real possibilities

for recovery—be aware of the fact that the earlier someone seeks treatment the

better their recovery will be. Life, love, fulfillment and dignity are possible.

We must let our Congressmen and Senators know what we are thinking and

talking about. I was talking to Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of

Mental Health (NIMH) recently and he told me that mental illnesses account

for 30% of all medical disabilities! The time for our leaders to pay attention

to that fact, and do something about it, is way overdue.

On behalf of myself, the Bring Change 2 Mind Board, Scientific Advisory Council

and staff, we thank you for your support and call you to action in 2013:

—Ask 10 people to take the pledge and commit to our principles

—Share your story – it will help others to find their voice

—Talk openly and listen closely when needed

—Practice empathy and save your judgment

—Be aware of your language – words can perpetuate stigma

—Support the Change A Mind Campaign by introducing it to your

community With your passion and commitment, person-by-person,

family-by-family, community-by-community, we will change minds

and lives.

With hope that you and your loved ones have a beautiful holiday season,

Glenn

2 Responses to “Bring Change 2 Mind”

  1. Theresa Cretella (aka: Tree) said

    Thanks for your post Glenn! It hit close to home, literally for me since I grew up in a nearby town only 15 minutes away. My neiced goes to school in the town next door, Monroe. I feel such sadness for the families of the victims. Wish that society or families were more proactive in helping people get the help they need for mental illness. Take Care!

    • Hey Tree!
      Since you grew-up within a few miles of Newtown, I can imagine that possibly some
      of your classmates / childhood friends may have children at that school or know families that do.
      Unfortunately that horrible event is another wake-up-call for our society to choose to
      learn to recognize signs & symptoms of a person in potential distress,…and simply offer [help].
      Whether prior offers of help to the eventual shooter happened at some point in this particular case
      is not known by me.
      I personally know that Stigma is often an enormous barrier to both asking for help and
      subsequently receiving proper support to attempt to sort out interpersonal challenges.
      Although I,…[know nothing], about the mental state of the individual that shot and
      killed twenty(20) first graders and six(6) adults,…I can imagine that he was struggling with some
      type of inner turmoil to say the least.

      Howard Lovely, Jr. “Sance”

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