Glenn Close honoured for mental health activism

  • Breaking
  • 26/04/2015

Actress Glenn Close fought back tears at the Variety 2015 Power of Women luncheon in New York City on Friday as she accepted an honour for her mental health activism and remembered her late friend Robin Williams.

The Fatal Attraction star delivered an emotional speech as she took to the podium at the annual event, where she was recognised for her efforts in raising awareness of mental illness and working to remove the stigma attached to the various conditions through her non-profit charity, Bring Change 2 Mind.

Close, whose sister and nephew suffer from bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, respectively, told the crowd of the importance of open discussion to find help for those in need before it's too late.

She said, "As an actress, I have terrified men and I certainly terrified children but I have yet to really terrify women. There is very little that frightens us. Many of us feel we must hide or suppress our truth in order to protect ourselves and our families from judgment, shame and stigma.

"I am a 12th generation of stoic, hardworking and pull-up-your-socks kind of family. The subject of mental illness was about as well-talked about in our house as the Democrat... of course, that has changed. We were a family with no vocabulary for mental illness. It was never discussed."

She then made mention of tragic Williams, who suffered from depression prior to his suicide last August, by turning to her friend and fellow honouree Whoopi Goldberg, and saying, "Whoopi, I feel if Robin was here today, he would be whispering in my ear, 'A couple of jokes would help right now!'."

It was also an emotional day for Lena Dunham, who revisited the horrific rape she suffered as a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, almost 10 years ago, when a man called Barry allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Speaking as she was applauded for her work with human trafficking victims via the GEMS organisation, she recalled, "When I was raped, I felt powerless. I felt my value had been determined by someone else, someone who sent me the message that my body was not my own and my choices were meaningless.

"It took years to recognise my personal worth was not tied to my assault. The voices telling me I deserved this were phantoms, they were liars...

"As a feminist and as a sexual assault survivor, my ultimate goal is to use my experience, my platform, and yes, my privilege, to reverse stigma and give voice to other survivors."

Kim Kardashian and actress Rachel Weisz were also feted at the luncheon for their charity endeavours.

source: newshub archive