(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," said Close.
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.
Sunday, March 9 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-03-09 21:33:04 GMT
One person is dead after a fatal accident in Millcreek on Sunday. Millcreek police discovered the crash just after 12:30AM while doing regular rounds; the accident was not called in. Officers discoveredMore >>
One man is dead after a fatal accident in Millcreek on Sunday. Police discovered the accident just after 12:30AM. More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-03-11 17:03:27 GMT
More than a half-dozen families were forced from their home early this morning when a fire broke out at their apartment complex in Crawford County. It broke out around 4:30am Tuesday at a building in theMore >>
More than a half-dozen families were forced from their home early this morning when a fire broke out at their apartment complex in Crawford CountyMore >>
Monday, March 10 2014 7:43 AM EDT2014-03-10 11:43:35 GMT
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Pennsylvania State Police are investigating a deadly Sunday night car crash in western Erie County.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-03-11 04:26:27 GMT
The Millcreek School Board met on Monday night to discuss a number of issues that will impact their finances. One of those issues: health care. Though the district faces higher healthcare costs everyMore >>
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Tuesday, March 11 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-03-11 19:39:57 GMT
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Monday, March 10 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:07:22 GMT
State troopers are searching for the suspect in reported armed robbery at a southern Erie County store. It happened around 7:30pm Sunday at the Franklin General Store on Wattsburg Road in GereeneMore >>
State troopers are searching for the suspect in reported armed robbery at a southern Erie County store.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-03-11 19:09:54 GMT
Students at Penn State Behrend are gone for spring break. But the campus was still busy today, for the annual high school Science Olympiad. About 400 students from 33 area high schools competed in events,More >>