Save the Date! “Closer to Hope” Mental Health Symposium on Oct. 5

Save the Date! “Closer to Hope” Mental Health Symposium on Oct. 5

HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida is pleased to announce Jessie Close, sister of Glenn Close and ambassador of the actress’ mental health awareness organization Bring Change 2 Mind, will serve as keynote speaker for its “Closer to Hope” symposium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, October 5 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. In addition to the dynamic keynote address, a panel of local advocates will discuss the state of mental health care in Southwest Florida, and what can be done to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illness.

Jessie Close fights stigma and misunderstanding to create a clearer picture of mental disorders. Her own struggle with bipolar disorder and alcoholism provides the backbone to a courageous story and an enlightened perspective on the state of mental health in America. At a young age, Close struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of 50. She and her three siblings, including actress Glenn Close, spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Jessie spent her childhood in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and finally Los Angeles, where her life quickly became unmanageable. She embarked on a series of destructive marriages as her condition worsened. Her son, Calen, also lives with mental illness. Today, with treatment, Close has become an internationally recognized speaker, author, poet and advocate for mental health reform.

The panel for the “Closer to Hope” Mental Health Symposium will include Sharon Dardy, a co-founder and first chairperson of the Board of Directors of Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida; Mary Delhagen, a Hope Clubhouse member living with a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and addiction and a long-time mental health advocate; and the Reverend Eddie Spencer, Senior Pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers.

For more information and for sponsorship opportunities, contact Event Chair and Hope Clubhouse Board Member Jeanne Sweeney at (239) 910-7426 or

About Hope Clubhouse
Hope Clubhouse is a community resource that fills a significant gap in the opportunities for people living with mental illness in Southwest Florida. Hope Clubhouse offers opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring, dignified and respectful community setting. Members of Hope Clubhouse develop hope for recovery and achievement of their full human potential. Hope Clubhouse is a 501(c)3 organization located at 3602 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers, Florida 33907. Call (239) 267-1777 or visit to donate or for more information.
This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.