Actress Patty Duke was a tireless advocate for the rights of individuals living with mental illnesses. From her diagnosis in the 1980’s with (what was then referred to as) manic depression, Patty Duke never attempted to hide her diagnosis. Instead, she followed through with treatment and entered a brand new phase of her life. She shed the Hollywood spotlight, though she continued to work until physical illness intervened. She moved to a suburb in Idaho and lived quietly with her husband, Mike and their son Kevin.
Friends Hospital Certified Peer Specialist had the honor to work with Patty Duke on a fund raising project. “She was a truly genuine person,” Dean notes, but her generosity of spirit and willingness to reach out to others really inspired me. During a meeting two years ago, Dean and Anna (her real first name) enjoyed a conversation about living with bipolar disorder. “She helped me learn to laugh at the funny side of my illness,” he says. “And she was a real example of hope in recovery.”
Sadly, Patty Duke passed away in March of 2016. Her legacy of reaching out will continue through the Patty Duke Mental Health Project, helmed by her son, actor Sean Astin.
“I’m grateful to have known her, however briefly,” Dean said. “Her courage and willingness to give of herself was among my greatest inspirations. Patty Duke was the author of “Call Me Anna” a biography detailing her early life as well as diagnosis, and “A Brilliant Madness”, about her life with bipolar disorder.