Glenn Close Named Honorary Chair of Fountain House Symposium, 4/30
Fountain House, an internationally recognized non-profit organization located at 425 West 47thStreet and dedicated to bettering the lives of people living with mental illness, has announced that acclaimed actress Glenn Close will serve as an Honorary Chair of the ninth annual Fountain House Symposium and Luncheon, to be held on April 30th, 2012, from 11:15 am to 2:00 pm, at The Pierre, Fifth Avenue at 61st Street in New York City.
Close is a past recipient of the Fountain House Humanitarian Award, which will be presented at this year’s event to Mark Vonnegut, MD – pediatrician, instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and author of the memoirs The Eden Express and Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So. Dr. Vonnegut, the son of the late author Kurt Vonnegut, has lived with schizophrenia throughout his adult life. The Symposium, titled “The Changing Mind: Youth and Neuroplasticity,” features a panel discussion geared to a lay audience by leading experts in the fields of mental health research, treatment, and public policy.
All proceeds will benefit Fountain House.
“As someone who has witnessed, firsthand, the terrible suffering caused by mental illness, I am a deep believer in the power of the Fountain House model,” said Close, a three-time winner of the Tony and Emmy Awards, a two-time Golden Globe winner, a six-time Academy Award nominee, and a recipient of the AARP Inspire Award for her advocacy work on behalf of people living with mental illness. ”To have a stigma-free, member-run, collegial sanctuary, where you learn the skills that can lead to a life where work and independent living are a possibility, and to be part of a supportive and nurturing community that understands the everyday triumphs and challenges of living with mental illness, not only engenders life-affirming hope, but, indeed, changes and saves lives.”
Close has volunteered at Fountain House, and in 2009 she launched the groundbreaking anti-stigma campaign BringChange2Mind.org, designed to confront the stigma associated with mental illness head-on, with a national Public Service Announcement directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard. Also in 2009, Close, with fellow Tony Award winner Sarah Jones, performed an original theatre piece, Under My Hat, at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. Under My Hat is a series of character sketches based on interviews Jones conducted with Fountain House members, and on other personal accounts of mental illness researched by both performers.