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Oscar-Nominated Actor Visits DC to Discuss Mental Health

Bradley Cooper Discusses Mental Health in DC

       WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- In the movie, "Silver Linings Playbook," actor Bradley Cooper plays a man with bipolar disorder.
      "I got to experience what those who suffer from mental illness experience by playing this character," the actor said, as he participated in a panel discussion in Washington, DC Friday, at the Center for American Progress. Cooper appeared alongside former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who himself suffers from bipolar disorder, and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, whose dad had the disease.
      "I bet I could go to each person in this room, and somebody would have a story about a family member or friend, or possibly yourself," said Sen. Stabenow (D, Michigan).
      Stabenow authored an amendment in the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance companies to cover mental health cases the same way they cover physical health.
      "We're very comfortable talking about heart disease, kidney disease…but when it's the organ of the brain, and there's a chemical imbalance, which is what this is and needs medication, we have a very different reaction," Stabenow said.
     Stabenow and Cooper say there has to be a shift in the culture too. And they credit the movie for starting the conversation.
      "I think there's a new silver lining for people with mental illness, and it's this movie," said Stabenow.
       "If everybody else puts the real time in to understand, they can take action, and the next thing you know, we could have policy, and then real change can occur," said Cooper.
       Bradley Cooper continues to raise awareness with his movie - he held a screening for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center last night. Meanwhile, Senator Stabenow is working on a bill that would expand mental health access at federal health centers.
     "Silver Linings Playbook" is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Bradley Cooper for Best Actor, and Best Picture.