What in the world is Glenn Close talking about?

“Hi, this is Glenn Close. Have you ever cut off ties with a friend who has cancer? Or were frightened by a person with diabetes because you assumed he was violent? Welcome to the world of mental illness. For the 1 in 4 people with mental illness, the stigma and discrimination can be as painful as the disease itself. Change your mind about mental illness and you can change a life.”

This is the copy of a radio commercial starring actress Glenn Close as part of a campaign from Bring Change 2 mind, an organization working toward erasing the stigma and discrimination of those suffering from mental illness.

I had already seen the television commercial, beautifully shot by Ron Howard. It’s evocative and moving, and the message was clear. By speaking out and putting a face to mental illness, it is hoped that the public’s negative misconceptions about mental illness are overcome. Wonderful premise. I’m all for it.

Then I hear the radio commercial, which had a different narrative, and wondered where the disconnect was between the radio and TV ads occurred. “Were you frightened by a person with diabetes because you assumed he was violent?”


I couldn’t figure out at first to whom she was aiming that statement. According to Bring Change 2 Mind, 1 in 6 adults live with a brain-related illness. So was the diabetes line aimed at the 1 or the other 5? Either way, to me, it doesn’t make sense.

But worse, it threw another illness under the stigma bus. Do we really need to put out there that there are those who think people with diabetes are violent? And for that matter, stigmatizing cancer patients as well. Why put a negative spotlight on another segment of society who also suffers from discrimination because of an illness.I love someone with Type 1 diabetes

I, admittedly, am hyper sensitive about diabetes issues as my 18-year-old daughter has borne the burden of Type 1 diabetes for almost eight years. She is one of nearly 26 million Americans to suffer from diabetes (3 million of the 26 million have Type 1), according to the Center for Disease Control. And in the U.S., a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/factsheet11.htm?loc=diabetes- Diagnosed: 18.8 million. Clearly, there are many in our world who suffer from illness, and who discrimination as a result of that illness. Shall I tell you how many times my daughter has been told if she exercises and doesn’t eat sugar, she won’t have diabetes? Countless.

I could not support more the premise that no one should be treated badly. Period. Illness or no illness. I understand that putting the spotlight on a disease and giving it a human face can go far in getting strangers to understand and sympathize.

What I don’t support is using a throw-away line that casts a negative light on another segment of society. We’re fighting our own battles too. We don’t need it to be made more difficult and more complicated because some copy writer wrote what was thought of as a good line.

But, the work of the work of Bring Change 2 Mind is admirable, so in the spirit of support, here’s the TV commercial. Powerful, do you think?

Ironically, the song choice for the commercial is “Say What You Mean To Say.” I couldn’t agree more. But more importantly, be sure what you’re saying is logical and truly conveys the point you are trying to make.

What do you think? Am I oversensitive?



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