Glenn Close Works Hard to reach out to and Support the Mentally Ill

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I served my CPE internship in a VA hospital where the two wards I was to help care for had many mentally ill people on them. My supervisor said, early on in the program, “Kendall, the mentally ill are the lepers of modern day society.” It rings ever more true the more distance I get from the remark. During that summer you cannot imagine how FEW of the patients on these wards who struggled with this kind of sickness were visited by their family members. Watch it all–and note particularly her response when she is asked about how she sees her sister–KSH.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Psychology

4 comments on “Glenn Close Works Hard to reach out to and Support the Mentally Ill

  1. Creighton+ says:

    This is absolutely true. Here in Florida, there is little Mental Health Resources. Those who suffer from mental illnesses are misunderstood and there is a great stigma against them. While there are more meds to help, meds alone are not the answers they need to be used with therapy and other supports to help these folks. And even family eventually give up on many of these people….because there is no support for them.

    Whatever the reason, mental Health illness is not treated the same as physical illnesses. These persons did not chose to be ill. Some is genetics and we still do not understand how the brain and brain chemistry works…

    God have mercy on these people and their family…they both need more help and support than we are currently giving them.

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    My father was afflicted with a severe case of bipolar disorder (then called manic depression), from which he apparently suffered his whole adult life. As a Korean War vet, he spent a lot of time on the psych wards of VA hospitals, often so doped up with drugs that he was totally spaced out. That terrible disease had a devastating effect not only on him, but on our entire family. And back in the 1960s and 70s, the social stigma of it was even worse than it is today. Like lepers, our society would generally prefer for these suffering ones to live in a remote colony by themselves, anywhere but near us.

    David Handy+

  3. Priest on the Prairie says:

    “…the mentally ill are the lepers of modern day society.”

    Agreed. Which is why as a bi-vocational priest, my work “in the world” is as a clinical social worker who specializes in geriatric mental health. It never ceases to amaze me how much my two worlds overlap and how many clients I have ended up comforting in their last condition and burying.

  4. Frances Scott says:

    I wasn’t going to comment here but maybe my experience and outlook are important. I was but 20 when I married a very charming young man a few months younger than I. Within weeks of our wedding I began to find some of his comments and behaviour very disturbing and contradictory. I had no experience with mental illness or alcoholism and could not understand what was happening to him or to our relationship. Over the next five years, and four babies, I began to realize that, while there was no discernable pattern, his shifts in mood and behavior alterated between extreme activity and laughter, periods when he was the nice guy I married, and periods when he would not even get out of bed for days at a time. In the “manic” phase, he could become violent if I crossed him in any way. Over the next five years, his behavior cost him his career, his infidelities increased in frequency and blatantcy, and his threats of suicide shifted to threats against my life and the lives of our children. He blamed me for everything that went wrong and, at one point, threatened to have me committed because I went to an altar guild meeting without first doing the dishes. Much of my time and energy went into being a buffer between my husband’s anger and the safety of my children, mostly by learning to keep my own affect flat so as to not aggravate his manic state. I managed to get my husband to agree to a Psyciatric evaluation by having one myself at his insistance. He would not accept help, because in his mind, I was the “crazy” one. Finally, on my pastor’s advice and the psychologist’s assurance that most people who make threats do not carry them out, I was able to file for divorce and get myself and my kids out of the marriage alive. That was 40 years ago. I have since earned my B.A. & M.A with a Psych/Soc double major. Medical science has made some progress in treating some people with bi-polar behavior, and I understand more of the dynamic between alcoholism & mental illness. I’ve had some experience working with bi-polar/alcoholic colleagues and cleaning up the academic messes they left behind them. Thanks be to God, none of my four inherited the full bloom of their father’s disorder.

    Currently, I have a 45 year old step-daughter who has lived with a bi-polar diagnosis for 20+ years. Sometimes the medication helps her to function normally…if she takes it. For the past 4 years her emotional state and ability to function has kept her father, her older brother, and her older sister on an emtional merry-go-round of their own while they put their own lives on hold in order to help her cope.
    The stress level in our home gets pretty high and I find myself, once again, expending a lot of energy to keep my affect relatively flat in order to not agravate my husband’s excitement level after he has spent time with his daughter. Graph our moods and I tend to keep myself the lower half of the normal range while my husband stays in the upper half, sometimes peaking above the range, but not clinically so.

    I understand why relatives tend not to visit their loved ones in the mental wards; somehow, we have to manage the stress in our own lives and use the period of time that the mentally ill are hospitalized as down-time for our own recuperation. Please, understand and forgive what appears to be our heartlessness toward our mentally ill.

    Frances Scott