Glenn Close And Whoopi Goldberg Discuss Mental Health

By David Konow 04/17/18

During a recent event in Indiana, the veteran entertainers spoke about mental health issues, acting and sexual harassment.

Glenn Close and Whoopi Goldberg

Actress Glenn Close has been an outspoken advocate for mental health, fighting against the stigma of mental illness for personal reasons. Close has suffered from depression herself, her sister has bipolar disorder, and her nephew lives with schizophrenia.

Now, Close and Whoopi Goldberg have spoken out about the importance of mental health at an event in Indiana, "An Intimate Conversation on Life, Acting, and Mental Health."

The specter of mental illness in her family drove Close to found her own organization, Bring Change to Mind, which she hopes will reduce the stigma around mental illness. “Stigma is the toughest thing to overcome,” Close told the audience.

As the Indiana Daily Student reports, Close said she misunderstood the fear that was evident in the face of her schizophrenic nephew, not realizing how terrified he was of the world.

“We’re always reading each other’s faces,” she says. “I think that happens a lot with mental illness. We misread somebody’s face because of their illness, but it doesn’t mean that that’s who they are.”

Clairessa Winters, a high school junior from Bloomington, attended the event, and told Close and Goldberg she suffered from mental health problems, and she wanted to learn more from both actresses.

“I don’t come from a great home life,” the teen confessed. “So that’s basically where most of my mental health issues stem from. So knowing that Whoopi also didn’t come from a great line is a great advocate for me to come here.”

Winters added, “Hearing it from celebrities who go through this every day and play characters with these disorders and things, they know firsthand that it’s not an easy thing to cope with and it's definitely not an easy thing to live with.”

Goldberg grew up in a housing project, and also had learning disabilities from dyslexia. She suffered from panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she saw two planes collide in the sky when she was a child.

Goldberg once described depression as a “mind storm” on The View, and she told the audience in Indiana that people should take care of each other, adding, “We don’t have to keep putting everybody in boxes. If they’re a human being and they’re being disrespected, you stand with them and have their back.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.