My mother Hope suffered from depression for most of her late adult life. My sisters, father and I witnessed decades of misdiagnosis, trials of medication, troublesome side effects and the psychic pain and life-sapping loss of energy that is a mark of clinical depression.
When she passed away in December 2005, I vowed that I would do all in my power to help conquer this dreaded illness. As my mother’s patient advocate, I had consulted with leading psychopharmacologists to better understand her various treatments and medications. I soon discovered the staggering reality that in the twenty-five years since the introduction of Prozac and the other SSRI antidepressants, there has been virtually no change in the basic treatment of depression, just adjustments in the use of existing approaches.
In order to encourage more cutting-edge research at a faster pace, in 2006 I started a new foundation in memory of my mother Hope – the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF).
Our mission is two-fold: First and foremost HDRF funds advanced research to find the causes of depression, a medical diagnosis, new medications and treatments and prevention of depression. To that end, HDRF has formed the Depression Task Force — an outstanding collaboration of leading neuroscientists across the US and Canada, each a pioneer in their own field. Together they have created an unprecedented research plan – The Hope Project – that accelerates the research process by sharing ongoing results, in real time, at a new HDRF Data Center.
The second goal is to raise awareness of depression as a medical illness and to educate the public about the facts of depression. We educate and inform in order to help remove the stigma of depression.
The study of depression and the brain is the last frontier of medicine. Your support for HDRF’s pioneering research can make a difference to those you personally know and to the hundreds of millions suffering worldwide.
Although doctors couldn’t find a cure for my mother’s psychic pain in her lifetime, I feel confident that with the progressive direction of our research and the encouragement of “out-of-the-box” scientific thinking, in my lifetime we will make significant strides, providing hope and help to everyone who is touched by depression.