Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bring Change 2 Mind

I just started watching a TV show recently called Modern Family. It is hilarious. I've only seen it a few times, so I'm not sure I can do the premise justice, but it's essentially a sitcom that chronicles different members of an extended family and their interactions. (If you're curious, follow this link to check it out.) Anyways, I really do like it, but last week when I was watching, one of the characters made a joke about eating disorders. It's hard to explain what happened since I don't really know any of the characters names, but one of the children was annoyed with his mother and said- "mom, go tend to your eating disorder or something." I'm not sure if this was supposed to be funny, but after the day I had, I was NOT laughing. An eating disorder is a mental illness, and there's nothing funny about that. I didn't turn off the TV and refuse to watch the rest of the episode, but it just struck me that if you replaced 'eating disorder' with any other mental illness- say, schizophrenia- it probably wouldn't be funny either. So why did someone think making a joke about an eating disorder would be funny? This just reminded me that eating disorders aren't widely viewed as psychiatric illness yet.

I think one of the biggest myths about eating disorders is that they are a lifestyle choice- not a mental illness. Yes, there is choice involved in recovery- you have to choose to take steps to recover. But an eating disorder is a mental illness, so it's not as simple as 'just eating'. Glenn Close, the actress famously known for playing Cruella Deville in 101 Dalmatians (ha ha, just kidding- I think she is famous for her role in Fatal Attraction, which I've never seen-- and some other movies too..), started a non-profit called Bring Change 2 Mind. The mission is to raise awareness about mental illness, to work towards de-stigmatizing it while also providing support for those who deal with mental illness. Close's sister and nephew, who both suffer from different mental illnesses, were the inspiration that fueled her to initiate this endeavor. PsychCentral wrote a little article awhile back in October when it launched - to read it, click HERE.

I'd encourage you to check out her site! I'll be honest- right now, there is a slightly annoying pop-up when you access the site, but that's just because Bring Change 2 Mind recently partnered with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for NAMIWalks Campaign (a walking campaign to raise money for and awareness of mental illness!). The pop-up is a video, and even though it's slightly annoying, it's actually worth watching :) Once you get past the video, the site is great- there are resources for those who want to learn about mental illness or find support if they are struggling with one, there are videos of people sharing their stories, and there is additional information available that serves to encourage real understanding of mental illness! Right now, eating disorders are not part of their featured mental illnesses- they feature depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar, and schizophrenia. However, there are many mental illnesses, eating disorders included, that will hopefully be added as their non-profit grows! At this point, what seems important is that this is an organization that is dedicated to promoting awareness and knowledge about mental illness to de-stigmatize... which is awesome. If you are interested in finding out how you can be involved in any capacity, you can check out the 'be involved' tab on their site!

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