Tipper Gore is back in the spotlight with a renewed mission to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Gore, the estranged wife of former Vice President Al Gore, announced on Tuesday that she’s made a $1 million donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help expand its teen outreach program, The Washington Post reports.
The former second lady, 68, told the Post she plans to work with the organization to promote its “Ending the Silence” program, which aims to raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions and help young people get the treatment they need.
“If a child gets injured on the playground, everyone understands that person needs treatment. Mental health needs to be considered just as normal as, say, a broken arm,” said Gore, who has advocated for mental health treatment since the ’80s.
Gore, who split from her husband in 2010, has stayed out of the headlines in recent years, and said she’s been enjoying a quiet life spending time with her children and grandchildren. Asked by the Post if she and Al Gore have officially divorced yet, she said they’ve agreed it’s a “personal matter” they won’t comment on.
She did, however, acknowledge that she has a boyfriend, former National Geographic magazine editor Bill Allen, with whom she shares a passion for photography.
Meanwhile, the mother-of-four says she was motivated to bring her activism back into the public eye in part because of what she describes as President Trump’s and Republicans’ “heartless” efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I think we’re at a critical juncture where health care is concerned,” she said. “When I look at what they’re doing with the [Affordable Care Act], which is making it worse, it will hurt the poor and the vulnerable, and the middle class.”
“I think it’s heartless, and it’s going to result in hurting people,” she added.
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President Trump’s proposed budget cuts have also inspired her to get more involved.
“They’re slashing the mental health budget,” she said. “That’s why now. Individuals and corporations alone can’t solve this, but it’s time for everyone who can to step up.”