Broadlawns Medical Center has secured some Hollywood star power to help raise awareness of the need for more mental health funding in Central Iowa. Actress Glenn Close will be the keynote speaker for its "ME-Series" community event, to be held May 15 in Des Moines, the hospital announced today.


"Currently, the mental health care services available in our community are insufficient," Broadlawns CEO Jody Jenner said in a press release. "Our end goal is to raise enough funding to ensure adequate and timely care is available for those suffering with mental illness, just as it is for cancer, diabetes or other physical health care issues."


Broadlawns chose Close to headline the May 15 event because of her experience with family members battling mental illness. In 2009, she participated in the launch of, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to confronting the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.


The ME-Series event will be held at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans Memorial and will consist of a free Pecha Kucha-style presentation of 10 speeches of less than seven minutes each. The speeches begin at 4 p.m. and speakers will cover topics such as improved access, homelessness, workplace productivity, suicide, quality of care and other issues.    

An exhibitor expo will also be held from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Booths will be set up by community organizations for attendees to learn more about services available for individuals living with mental illness.


There will be 2,500 tickets available beginning Monday at www.BroadlawnsAdvocateCircle.orgthat will include admission to a reception with Close and her keynote presentation, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session, 


"We want to make everyone more comfortable talking about mental health issues through open conversation to reduce the current stigma associated with the disease," said Johnny Danos, co-chair of the Broadlawns Foundation Advocate Circle.