Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Actress Glenn Close and Family to speak at 5th International Stigma Conference in Ottawa

May 3, 2012

CALGARY, May 3, 2012 /CNW/ – Award-winning actress Glenn Close will be a
keynote speaker during: Together Against Stigma: Changing How We See Mental Illness, the 5(th) International Stigma Conference being held in Ottawa from June 4-6.

Hosted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the World
Psychiatric Association Scientific Section on Stigma and Mental
Illness, the conference will bring together mental health researchers,
policy makers, and service users from around the world.  The conference
hopes to serve as a catalyst that will mobilize and focus the actions
and work of others to fight the stigma that surrounds mental health
problems and illnesses.

In 2009, Glenn Close helped to launch Bring Change 2 Mind, an organization working to eradicate the stigma and discrimination
surrounding mental illness. The organization evolved out of Close’s
realization that her younger sister Jessie, and Jessie’s eldest son
Calen, were in a life-and-death battle with mental illness. Close,
Jessie and Calen will all be guest speakers at the conference.

“That there is mental illness in my family puts us squarely at the heart
of the global human family,” says Close. “I am honored to be a part of
this year’s International Stigma Conference and am thrilled to also be
celebrating the formation of Bring Change 2 Mind’s distinguished
Advisory Council, who will aid us in translating the science of stigma
and discrimination into powerful, informed messaging.”

Close, who has received six Oscar nominations, three Emmy Awards, two
Golden Globes and three Tony Awards, is also known for her role as a
mental health advocate. This year she was given the National
Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation’s Leadership Award
for her work with Bring Change 2 Mind.

“We are truly honoured to welcome Glenn Close to our conference,” says
Micheal Pietrus, Director of the MHCC’s anti-stigma initiative Opening
Minds. “Her commitment to fighting stigma and removing misconceptions
about mental illness is inspiring to us all.”

More than seven million Canadians will experience a mental health
problem this year. Researchers have found that stigma is a major barrier that prevents more than two-thirds of people
with mental illnesses from seeking help. For more information on the
conference click here.

About the Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are
collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of
Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve
services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental
health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives.
Together, we are sparking change.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.

About Opening Minds

Opening Minds is the MHCC’s anti-stigma initiative designed to change
the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians towards those living with a
mental health problem or illness. The initiative is currently
evaluating anti-stigma
programs across Canada to identify which are successful at changing
attitudes and behaviours related to mental illnesses. The successful
programs are replicated elsewhere in the country. Opening Minds is also
working with journalism schools and the media to identify myths and
misconceptions associated with mental illness to create a network of
change and decrease stigma.

The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental
Health Commission of Canada.

Production of this document is made possible through a financial
contribution from Health Canada.

SOURCE Mental Health Commission of Canada

Source: PR Newswire