Brooke Shields, Audrey Gruss and The Hope for Depression Research Foundation: A New Non-Profit Supports Scientific Inquiry

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 in Manhattan on November 16th. Her compelling story, strong advocacy and consistent efforts to bring attention to postpartum depression are appreciated by women who have suffered, those who love them, advocacy groups and legislative leaders.

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 acknowledging her experiences has led other struggling mothers to seek help, along with the efforts of other national advocates like Former NJ First Lady Mary Jo Codey and Sylvia Lasalandra, author of “A Daughter’s Touch”.

But I am equally thankful to the lady behind this event who chose to highlight postpartum depression at this year’s annual luncheon. Audrey Gruss formed The Hope for Depression Research Foundation to honor her mother, Hope, who suffered from 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 Foundation’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.”

“HFDR Foundation 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! Without scientific etiological study, treatment administration can lack reliable and appropriate application. Most medical illnesses develop treatment protocols only after years of robust research leading to a clearer determination of cause, effect; better certainty about such treatment protocols and their safety; disease course, prognosis and patient response. Not so with mental health which lags far behind in committed research dollars despite The World Health Organization’s forecast projecting depression to be the NUMBER TWO health issue in the world by 2020.

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 this devastating illness. 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 highlight a foundation whose leader remains undaunted by the task of her mission and who continuously invests her own time and considerable energy to end suffering.

Thank you to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation and Audrey Gruss for including 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 you have brought to the issue that unites our concern.

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