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Award-winning actress Glenn Close, her sister Jessie Close and her nephew Calen Pick were the recipients of the prestigious McLean Award in 2010, honored for their educational and advocacy efforts surrounding psychiatric illness through their organization BringChange2Mind. The not-for-profit’s mission is to combat stigma and provide information and support for those living with psychiatric illness.
Glenn Close and her family received the award at the hospital’s annual dinner on May 7, 2010, at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston. There, Jessie and her son Calen spoke movingly about their struggles with psychiatric illness—Jessie with bipolar disorder and Calen with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Both were treated at McLean. Jessie recounted the many difficult years before her illness was diagnosed at McLean at age 47. “I medicated myself with drugs and alcohol until I came close to killing myself,” she said. “I am so very grateful to be alive.”
Glenn spoke about how psychiatric illness affected her family. Although their father was a physician, the Close family lacked the knowledge and the language to discuss the topic. “We had to learn fast though if [Jessie and Calen] were to survive and if we were to survive as a family,” she said.
The McLean Award honors individuals for their efforts in furthering the public’s understanding of psychiatric illness. In 2009, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin received the award. He suffered from depression and alcoholism after returning from his historic moonwalk. ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff and his wife, Lee, received the award in 2008. Bob Woodruff, critically wounded by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq, suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the aftermath, Lee also suffered from depression.