There will undoubtedly be news stories over the next few weeks focusing on Brooke Shield’s appearance at The Hope for Depression Research Foundation luncheon which took place this week in Manhattan. Watch the video of her interview at the luncheon here.
Her compelling story, strong advocacy and consistent efforts to bring attention to postpartum depression are appreciated by women who have struggled, those who love them, advocacy groups and legislative leaders (Watch her Capitol Hill press conference here.
In addition, Brook's book "Down Came the Rain" has been widely distributed to grateful mothers who have found strength and endurance in her words. Her bravery in speaking out has caused many women to reach out for help, along with other advocates like Former NJ First Lady Mary Jo Codey and ]]>Sylvia Lasalandra]]>.
But I am equally thankful to the lady behind this event who chose to highlight postpartum depression at her foundation’s annual luncheon. Audrey Gruss
formed The Hope for Depression Research Foundation to honor her mother, Hope, who suffered from chronic depression. Its devastating effects on her loved one inspired the birth of this foundation which has become a powerful vehicle in the quest to fund research leading to a cure.
HFDR's mission is to “fund cutting-edge, international scientific research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression and its related mood disorders – anxiety, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, prolonged grief and posttraumatic stress syndrome – with the ultimate goal of finding a cure.”
From the foundation's website at www.hopefordepression.org, “HDRF sets itself apart by funding a pioneering research approach. The foundation recognizes the need to combine the study of both the brain and the mind by supporting research that integrates the fields of neuroscience (the brain) and psychology (the mind). While this research is HDRF’s priority, the Foundation also funds the most rapidly-emerging fields of neuroscience that hold the greatest possibility for breakthrough discoveries – genetics and epigenetics, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and neurophysiology.”
This is exactly where we need to be folks! Focusing on the etiology and neuroscience that underscores such disorders is the only scientific path leading to a comprehensive, empirically based response! Focusing on treatment alone without understanding of cause can lead to clinical failure, mistreatment and additional suffering. Such discovery in terms of biological roots, chemistry, environment and genetics are fully explored with robust research dollars in most medical illnesses which is why treatment protocols, prognosis and outcomes for such illnesses can be more reliably applied and predicted. Not so with mental illness.
Knowing that every dollar of your contribution will go directly to the funding of research offers donors the reassurance that their support is truly making a difference. The generosity of The Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation in underwriting the foundation’s administrative expenses makes this possible!
Having had the honor of meeting this fine lady, I can tell you that she is determined, committed and forceful in her goal of having an impact on these devastating illnesses. Her dedication to this issue is matched by her undeterred hard work in leading this three year old non profit through the murky waters of the current economy. As foundation dollars are increasingly difficult to accumulate and never more desperately needed, it is most gratifying to behold a foundation whose leader remains energetically undaunted by the task of her mission!
Thank you to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation and Audrey Gruss for highlighting postpartum depression among the clinical manifestations of mental illness it seeks to eradicate. In no other depressive disorder does the mental health of one individual have such a direct impact on the developing health and wellbeing of another. We are deeply grateful for the additional attention to the issue that unites our concern.