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And the Oscar goes to…

Sometimes I think that Amy and I are the only ones who are pointing out how mental illness still carries a terrible stigma today despite everything we have learned about it. But last night at the Oscars, we felt very much less alone. Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook,” a movie that addresses the challenges mental illness brings to families and relationships.

Life doesn’t always go how we want it to. In the movie, Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything due to his mental illness – his house, his job, his wife – and he has to resort to living with his parents when he is released from an institution. Pat tries to keep the positives developing in his life but he finds difficulties at every turn. When he meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), someone who is struggling with her own issues complicated by depression, what develops is the rest of the story.

After her Oscar win, Ms. Lawrence said, “I don’t think we’re going to stop talking about mental illness until we get rid of the stigma for it. I know David (David O. Russell) won’t. And I hope that this (movie) helps. It’s so bizarre how in this world, if you have asthma, you take asthma medicine; if you have diabetes, you take diabetes medicine, but as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there’s such a stigma behind it.”

Day in and day out Amy and I encounter the stigma surrounding mental illness when we talk with those who struggle with it in their day-to-day relationships. It is good to hear someone who has voice to a larger stage take up the cry. We need to get over being afraid of the illnesses that strike the human brain. Once we do that, we might be able to look in a fresh light at how those illnesses can better be treated and perhaps even cured.

Thanks, Ms. Lawrence, for your words of wisdom and congratulations on that Oscar. Job well done on both counts.



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