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January 30th, 2014
09:53 PM ET

Glenn Close on family's struggle with mental disorders: We had no vocabulary for mental illness

"I think our family is like a lot of families. We had no vocabulary for mental illness," Glenn Close says.

Joined by her younger sister, Jessie Close, the six-time Oscar-nominated actress spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett about her family's struggle with mental illness.

Close recalls, "Jessie would do things when she was little that would have been red flags if we had been more knowledgeable."

One of the red flags includes her sister rubbing her fingers together until they would begin to bleed.

Close expresses regret that her family didn't question her sister's behavior.

"We just thought she was wild and irresponsible," Close says. "So when she was finally diagnosed, which was not until she was 50, she had lived a life, which she needn't had lived."

Jessie was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder. According to WebMD, a person affected by the disorder will experience a manic episode, a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior.

Jessie shared with Burnett how she felt when she found out about the diagnosis.

"When I was finally diagnosed, I went through a long period of grief, because I had so many instances where I was manic and not in my right mind," she says. "It's a difficult thing to look back on a life when you're already 50 years old."

Close is one of the biggest advocates for changing the stigma around mental illness. She started the non-profit, Bring Change 2 Mind, with a mission to raise awareness about the misconceptions associated with mental disorders.

"Four of five of us are touched in some way by mental illness," Close says.

In December, Close was in Washington to work with a bipartisan group on the Excellence in Mental Health Act. She tells Burnett the law will get government funding for behavioral and mental health organizations that are already working on the ground in communities.

"Mental health has always been the least funded of all the departments in our government," Close says. "There's been such a cutback on funds for organizations like that - we are suffering from it."

In a public service announcement, Close stands by Jessie's son Calen (he suffers from schizophrenia), and urges people to start talking about mental illness as a way to end the stigma.

"I think we're probably tighter because we've been through a war, a war on mental illness," Jessie says.

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Filed under: "Kids in Crisis: Fragile Minds" • Mental Health • News
January 30th, 2014
09:17 PM ET

Is the Republican party leaderless?

Is the Republican party leaderless?

That's the question Erin Burnett posed Wednesday night to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, after watching four separate GOP responses to President Obama's State of the Union speech.

Priebus got pretty fired up over her question - as did a whole lot of you on social media.

Transcript:

BURNETT: That seems like a party that doesn't know who in the heck is in charge, it seems leaderless.
PRIEBUS: I think that's a pretty silly comment. And I know it's your first day back.
BURNETT: All right. Tell me why I'm silly, Reince.
PRIEBUS: Because there were probably 300 responses yesterday. Every member of Congress, when you say Rand Paul gave a response, I would imagine almost every senator gave some kind of response yesterday...  this is just - it's ridiculous.
BURNETT: But doesn't a party usually come up with one -
PRIEBUS: Cathy McMorris Rodgers was the responder, and she gave the official response.
BURNETT: But official response and then there's all the other splinters. I mean, I'm not the only one - I'm not alone.
PRIEBUS: Every member of Congress is in the studio giving a response. Rand Paul was not the only senator giving a response.
BURNETT: I hear your point, but (INAUDIBLE) of BuzzFeed framed it this way. He said conservatives are competing for air time.
PRIEBUS: I don't care how he framed it.

So, who is the leader of the Republican party?

OutFront: Reince Priebus's communications director at the RNC Sean Spicer, and CNN Political Commentator Hilary Rosen.


Filed under: GOP • News • Politics
January 30th, 2014
09:00 PM ET

Inside the site of the the 1979 Iran hostage crisis

CNN has a rare look inside the former U.S. embassy in Iran where dozens of American diplomats were held and tortured by Iranians for 14 months in 1979.

Many may remember it from the Hollywood hit, Argo.

Today, the embassy is an anti-American museum, but it looks almost exactly like it did 34 years ago.

CNN's Jim Sciutto has the exclusive footage.

FULL POST


Filed under: International • Iran • News
January 30th, 2014
08:57 PM ET

Kids in Crisis: Family struggles with mentally ill son

Everyday, it seems there's another story or another headline about a young child who didn't get help they needed in time because the system has failed them.

Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. And two months ago, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was slashed, stabbed, and nearly killed by his mentally ill son, Gus, who took his own life.

The day before that attack, Gus was released from a hospital because there were no psychiatric beds available. It's become a common problem in America, and it is getting worse.

CNN's David Mattingly met with a family who struggled to get the right care for their son.

Mattingly is OutFront with the story:

Thom and Bonnie Shuman dealt with the sorrow that entered their lives by encouraging parents of mentally ill children to fight all they can and never give up.

The Shumans fought for years for their son, Teddy. They worked diligently to raise him through a variety of severe developmental problems but were overwhelmed when he began lapsing into unpredictable and violent rages.

It took more than a decade to finally get him into permanent care at a residential facility. Even then, it took a judge's order after Teddy killed another patient in 2006.

The Shumans try to see their son every weekend and are comforted by the idea that he is finally in a facility equipped to handle him. They say they are no longer "walking on egg shells" in fear of their son's violent outbursts.

But now at retirement age, The Shumans are in debt, their savings are exhausted - and so are they. They want their story known so that mental health care for children might one day be more accessible and affordable.

The numbers suggest their story is being ignored. The state of Ohio has fewer beds available today for psychiatric care of children than it did six years ago.

January 30th, 2014
08:36 PM ET

Amanda Knox convicted of murder again

Amanda Knox found guilty ... again.

For the second time, an Italian court convicted the former American exchange student of murder.
Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Rafaelle So-lech-ito, were both found guilty of killing Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2009.

That verdict, was overturned on appeal in 2011 and Knox was set free.

Amanda Knox found guilty of murder again by Italian court

Knox watched this trial from her home in Seattle and released a statement saying:

"I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution."

Here's what we do know about the evidence. According the police:

  • A knife found at Rafaelle Sollecito's apartment had both Amanda's and Meredith's DNA
  • Meredith's bra clasp tested positive for Rafaelle's DNA
  • Knox made a false confession.
  • A bloody footprint in the bathroom prosecutors say belongs to Sollecito and a bloody shoe print found next to Kercher's body belonged to Sollecito.
  • A homeless man claims he saw the couple near the house the night of the murder.

All of this evidence was challenged by the defense and an appeals court ruled in Knox's favor in 2011. Now she has been convicted again. A judge sentenced Knox to 28 and a half years in prison.

OutFront: Steve Moore, he's a former FBI special agent and wrote a book about this case. CNN legal analyst and former homicide prosecutor, Paul Callan.


Filed under: Amanda Knox • International • Justice • News
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