Actress Glenn Close lends support to Stabenow mental health bill - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Actress Glenn Close lends support to Stabenow mental health bill

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJRT) -

(12/18/13) - She first had the backing of actor Bradley Cooper. Now, another big name in Hollywood is lending her support to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow's legislation that would improve mental health care in our country.  

Actress Glenn Close joined Stabenow at the Capitol Wednesday to voice her support for the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which just passed out of the Senate Finance Committee last week. The bill would help expand health care access for people with mental illness and improve quality standards at mental health centers.

"Our family had no vocabulary for mental illness," said Close, who spoke about her sister Jessie. Close says, four years ago, Jessie was contemplating suicide. It wasn't until they sought help that Jessie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 50. "It took that crisis point for us to start waking up."

Close founded an organization called "Bring Change 2 Mind," which works to end the stigma associated with mental illness.

"Our passion is to make mental illness as easy to talk about as diabetes or cancer. It's part of the human condition," Close said.

Stabenow said, "We need to be treating the diseases above the neck the same as those below the neck."

Now that her bill has cleared a huge legislative hurdle, Stabenow says she's going to keep pushing for final passage.

"What we are doing today is celebrating the first step in making it a reality the promise President Kennedy put in place 50 years ago – that we're going to have hope and support and community care for families all across this country."

Stabenow and her Republican co-sponsor on the bill, Senator Roy Blunt, say they're reaching out to their House colleagues to get bipartisan support in that chamber. Their goal is to include the Excellence in Mental Health Act as an amendment to larger health bill they hope will pass next year.
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