Tickets now on sale for “Closer to Hope” Mental Health Symposium

Tickets are now on sale for HOPE Clubhouse’s “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, featuring mental health advocate Jessie Close as keynote speaker. Sister of Glenn Close and ambassador of the actress’ mental health awareness organization Bring Change 2 Mind, Jessie Close will be joined by a panel of local mental health advocates who will discuss the state of mental health care in Southwest Florida. Tickets are $40 including a buffet lunch, and can be ordered at or by calling (239) 267-1777. Sponsors are also needed to underwrite the cost of a ticket for Hope Clubhouse members.

Jessie Close is a dynamic speaker who fights stigma and misunderstanding to create a clearer picture of mental disorders. 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. The panel will explore the shift in mindset that is needed to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illness.

Jessie Close’s 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.

Hope Clubhouse is grateful to its Title Sponsor, Scott White Advisors, and these other generous sponsors: CONRIC PR & Marketing, Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, NAMI Collier, Dr. Omar Rieche, M.D., Dottie and George Pacharis, Allegra Design-Marketing-Print, The News-Press Media Group, FineMark National Bank & Trust, United Way and Sovereign Health.

For more information and for sponsorship opportunities, contact Hope Clubhouse Executive Director James Wineinger at

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.