MSU to host talk about bipolar disorder

Glenn Close sister presents perspective on bipolar disorder

Jessie Close, sister of well-known actor Glenn Close, will share insights about her life with bipolar disorder in a Jan. 25 online talk through Montana State University.

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MSU's Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery  presents "The Experience and Science of Mental Illness” which feature  Jessie Close and Dr. David Bond, a prominent researcher from the University of Minnesota.

Close will talk about her struggles with bipolar disorder, as well as her experience of recovery and resilience. Bond will share information about recent research related to understanding the biology of bipolar disorder.

The event will be held online via Webex from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For login information, visit the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery website at

Close is the author of “Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness.” She is also an advocate at Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit organization her sister, the actress Glenn Close, founded that aims to reduce the stigma related to mental illness.

Jessie Close has been featured on numerous media outlets, including CBS News, CNN and “Good Morning America.”

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Bond, who specializes in bipolar disorder research, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

According to Bond, approximately 2.8% of the U.S. population lives with bipolar disorder, a lifelong episodic illness featuring radical shifts in mood ranging from severe depression to mania or hypomania. Bipolar disorder cannot be cured, but it can be managed through a combination of medication, psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle choices.

While progress has been made in understanding the genetic, neurobiological and environmental causes of bipolar disorder, there is much more to learn about its causes. Several dozen genes have been associated with bipolar disorder but explain only a tiny fraction of the illness.  

Symptoms of bipolar disorder typically manifest in the mid-teens to mid-20s, but early signs of the disorder can show up in early adolescence and are associated with brain development, Bond said. He noted one study, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, which should provide important information for understanding how brain development contributes to psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder.

The National Institutes of Health-funded consortium will follow 12,000 children in the U.S. beginning at ages 9 to 10 and track their development through adolescence into young adulthood. "These are the sizes of datasets that are needed to really understand the molecular and physiological development of mental health," he said.

Close said mental illness is difficult for those who suffer from it, as well as for those close to them. She said the best advice she can give to families is to "remember who the person is and why you love them, and find a way to get help. Families must be willing to deal with a frightening situation."


The Experience and Science of Mental Illness” is co-sponsored by NAMI Montana, Bring Change to Mind and the MSU Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education.

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