This past Monday, June 03, 2013 marked the beginning of the White House’s National Conference on Mental Health. President Obama kicked off the conference by saying that he hoped the event will elevate the national conversation on mental health by “bringing mental illness out of the shadows.”
The event, hosted by both the President and Vice President, seeks to lessen the stigma of mental disorders and promote a national conversation about what more can be done to help people with mental health issues find the care they need. The conference included remarks by Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the president’s Cabinet, as well as activists and celebrities Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper.
Bradley Cooper’s Role
Cooper has become known as a mental health advocate and was nominated for an Oscar for his role as a man struggling with bipolar disorder in the film “Silver Linings Playbook.” Close narrated a documentary aimed to fight mental health stigmas and helped found the Bring Change 2 Mind campaign, which works against mental health discrimination. Her sister, Jessie, lives with bipolar disorder, and her nephew has schizoaffective disorder.
The conference is designed to tackle many important issues in mental health including the stigmatization of the mentally ill, increasing awareness of the realities of mental illness and highlighting much of the public and private work that has been done to further mental health care. This conference comes at an especially important time, months after a number of serious national tragedies involving mentally ill assailants. With an already increased national awareness about the difficulties faced by the mentally ill and the importance of finding quality care and treatment for those affected, this conference will seek to begin not only a conversation, but a general mood of acceptance towards the mental health community.