Springfield College hosted Mental Health Awareness Advocates Jessie Close and Calen Pick on Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Field House. This year marked the fifth year of the college’s newly endowed Arts and Humanities Speaker Series, made possible through the generosity of Carlton ’63 and Lucille Sedgeley.
Inspired by Jessie and Calen’s stories in 2010, Glenn Close co-founded Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Jessie Close’s own struggle with bipolar disorder and alcoholism provided the backbone to a courageous story and an enlightened perspective on the state of mental health in the United States. She is an internationally recognized author (Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness, published in 2016) and speaker who shares her own journey toward the larger goal of greater understanding of the complexities and challenges of living with a diagnosed mental illness.
Calen Pick, diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder as a young man, has been active in outreach programs for youth living with mental illness, resources that weren’t always available to him at a young age. A Montana based artist, Pick has been developing his craft for over 14 years. He views his artwork as an expression of the creative gifts commonly found among people living with mental illness and an important therapeutic tool for his own pursuit of a healthy and productive life.