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An actress decided to do something about the stigma of mental illness.

When Glenn Close's family members were diagnosed with mental illnesses, she wanted to change how the world treated them. So she started an organization called Bring Change 2 Mind to help people start talking about mental health.

An actress decided to do something about the stigma of mental illness.

The most important thing I want you to see here is this:


It's true. Since we're all in this together, who are we really hurting when we place a stigma on mental illness? Yeah. All of us.



Young people these days (I can't believe I just said that. Oof.) are excellent at getting the word out and creating social change. As the ladies say below, it's partly their responsibility to get the conversation going.

And the good news is:

We have to start really talking about mental health in order to literally save lives. When people are ashamed of their illnesses, they hide them. The quieter we stay, the less likely people are to seek help. And for some, that can mean greater chances of suicide and self-harm. I have lost four people to suicide in the past couple of years. That's four people too many.

If you share this, you may help someone feel less alone, more likely to speak up. It's worth a try, right?

If you're in the U.S. and need help immediately, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255).

True

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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