Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) was created by Glenn Close and her sister Jessie to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness. Glenn is also fully aware of the many environmental issues facing mankind.  She narrated the documentary Home, which was composed mostly of aerial shots of spectacular locations from fifty-four countries on our beautiful, but troubled, planet Earth.  However, it’s a depiction of the interlinked pressures that humanity places on ecosystems and the consequences of climate change

I first wrote to BC2M in 2012, then this letter in 2020.

I’m an Alaska fish biologist who has experienced great depression over the years, much of which had to do with the loss of my beloved fishes in Wyoming and Idaho when I lived there twenty-five or more years ago.

This may sound awful hubristic, but I have a vision for bringing the discussion of mental health and the environment to the forefront in a powerful way…and that would be in a full-length feature film.  Being a biologist living in remote Alaska now, a small village of 600 people – the majority being native Americans – and one that you have to fly into, it’s difficult for me to get the attention of anyone involved in the movie industry.  Believe me, I’ve been trying for some time.

I’m sure you know where this is going – yes, I’d hope that you’d eventually pass this E-mail on to Glenn Close.  I think that she’d enjoy talking to me for no other reason than I lived in Sublette County where her parents lived and, as a biologist, I wanted to work closely with ranchers to improve the riparian habitat of the region.

But there is a more compelling reason than that, and it has to do with Bring Change 2 Mind’s mission.  The film I envision would be loosely based on my life, and therefore much of it would take part in Wyoming which is where I first discovered my depression.  I was working for the Forest Service and experiencing a mid-life crisis while being psychologically abused by a supervisor with Napoleon complex.  To get away from that caustic work environment, I moved to remote Idaho.  Wyoming, being a special place, was a big part of my life.  The day I left, I bawled like a baby; and not being able to work with the ranchers I’d gotten to know contributed greatly to my depression.

This would set the stage for over two decades worth of anguish.  Here’s a link for a video I made that explains, as best I can, just how traumatic my time in Wyoming and Idaho was. (I took all those branding photos not far from Glenn’s parents’ ranch the last time I visited Sublette County.)

As I said, this film would be based on my life, and here’s one potential scene from something that occurred since I’ve been in Alaska.  While working on a book, I prevented a creative writing teacher with bipolar disorder from committing suicide.  The only thing that kept her from “doing it” was her desire to help me get a powerful environmental message out.  Unfortunately, the book went nowhere…but she’s still alive!

Why have I not been able to convince anyone yet to help bring this vision of mine to fruition?  I think it has everything to do with the stigma associated with mental illness.  I’ve invited film industry folks up to hear my stories in person, but I think they’re hesitant to take me up on my offer.

Even many of my closest friends don’t understand how depression is integral for this movie.  Here’s what a casual acquaintance said: “Your message between the psychology of the human species and their impact on the environment gets convoluted with your own focus on a movie about you, your depression and ADDYou will need to focus your objective – as I see it you have several ideas that are muddled together.  A clear focus is essential.

More importantly than my depression, is the depression that millions of people will soon suffer with the onset of worsening disturbances from climate change.  Are you familiar with the term solastalgia?  It’s basically depression from the loss of home or environment.  Here’s an excellent article about it:

So now, more than ever, there needs to be a way of getting both a mental illness message and an environmental one out to as many people as possible…the likes of which has never been heard before.  I hope that we can discuss this further.


Dave Cannon