Glenn and Jessie Close

Actress Glenn Close, right, is pictured with her sister, Jessie Close, in this file photo. Jessie suffers from bipolar disorder and will be featured speaker at the Big Sky Behavioral Health Summit on Sept. 6-7 on the University of Montana Western campus in Dillon.

Courtesy photo

DILLON — Trauma care and substance abuse will be the focus of the first-ever Big Sky Behavioral Health Summit on Sept. 6-7 on the University of Montana Western campus in Dillon.

Jessie Close, sister to mental health education champion and actress Glenn Close, highlights the team of speakers. Jessie suffers from bipolar disorder and her grown son, Calen Pick, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

To register for the conference, visit and search for events in Dillon, Montana. Early-bird registration is closed, but open registration at $125 per person ends on Aug. 31.

Once flailing in the dark about undiagnosed mental illness – typical to many Americans – the Close family now champions the cause, creating more awareness and improved treatment. Jessie and son travel on a public speaking circuit, which includes the Big Sky Behavioral Health Summit. Glenn Close started a national website, to support her family and the cause.

“All are welcome and we encourage community members to attend who would like to become more trauma-informed and enhance their insight regarding mental health issues,” said Jerry Girard, event chairman, student counseling director at the University of Montana Western and substance abuse counselor. Slots are still available; see info at bottom.

A coalition created the inaugural conference to shed light on the “direct correlation between childhood trauma and substance misuse,” said Kim Martinell, lead prevention specialist for the Southwest Chemical Dependency Program.

Substance misuse, Martinell said, is a serious problem that adversely affects communities across Montana and the nation.

“There has been a lot of discussion at a state and national level regarding the opioid crisis,” she added.

Besides Jessie Close, other speakers include Eric Arzubi, Billings Clinic Department of Psychiatry Chairman; Malcolm Horn, Rimrock Foundation Director of Learning and Supervision; Daniel Nauts, Recovery Center Missoula Director and Erin Butts, Great Falls Public Schools Student Mental Health Coordinator.

Conference-goers may receive education units at no extra cost. One undergraduate EDU credit (cost $115) is available through the Montana Western School of Outreach at an additional cost of $115. Registration and payment for the single credit will take place on site the morning of day one check-in.

For more information about the conference, Jerry Girard at 406-925-0642.


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