Eighth Annual 5K Race of Hope to Defeat Depression in Southampton Spotlights Youth Mental Health

Teen Grand Marshal Grier Henchy Follows in her Mother Brook Shield’s Footsteps

Event Raises Over $323,000 for Depression Research

L to R: Audrey Gruss, Brooke Shields, and Grier Henchy.

Photo By: Sean Zanni

(August 7, 2023- Southampton, NY) – The Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s (HDRF) Eighth Annual 5K Race of Hope brought together more than 600 men, women, and children on Sunday, August 6th in Southampton Village in support of mental health awareness and research.  HDRF Founder Audrey Gruss, and  Board member Arthur Dunnam were Grand Marshals of the event, which raised over $323,000 for research into new and improved treatments for depression and anxiety.

This year also spotlighted two Teen Grand Marshals for the first time: Grier Henchy, the 17-year-old daughter of Brooke Shields; and Hayden Lucas, a high school senior and leader of the newly-formed HDRF Teen Task Force.  Earlier this year, Lucas worked with HDRF to launch the Inaugural Teen Race of Hope in May in New York City.

Henchy was accompanied at Sunday’s Race of Hope by her famous mom Brooke Shields, who was one of the first celebrities to speak openly about depression.  Henchy is now following in Shields’ footsteps as a passionate mental health advocate.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to be a teen,” Henchy said to the crowd of racers just before the start gun.  “We are dealing with school stress and college applications and anxiety about the future.  And of course, the ever-present social media, which can be hard to turn off. It’s really important for every teen to know it is okay to NOT be okay – and to reach out for help.”

The Race of Hope takes place against a backdrop of alarming mental health statistics.  Last fall, the Surgeon General declared an emergency in youth mental health. More than one in three high school students reports feeling persistent sadness and hopelessness since 2020, a 40% increase since 2009.  Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for teens ages 15-19.

The Race of Hope is a serious yet festive event that raises money for innovative research into depression and related mood disorders like anxiety and PTSD.    Audrey Gruss said: “It’s inspiring to see teens like Grier and Hayden embracing mental health as a cause. Activism is a powerful tool for mental wellness and self-care, because it brings people together in community.”

Gruss continued: “HDRF has not only been fighting stigma for the past 17 years, but are world leaders in advanced depression research.   Our pioneering neuroscientists are discovering novel molecular targets in the brain to accelerate the next generation of depression treatments.”

At the starting gun, participants set off to complete the 3.1-mile course around Lake Agawam and the tree-lined streets of Southampton, NY.  Hope was in rich supply with everyone donning t-shirts and caps in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow.  The Race of Hope is a USA Track and Field-sanctioned event.

At the close of the race, Audrey Gruss handed out awards in several categories including First Prize for best male time went to Jordan Daniel, and First Prize for the best female time went to Curry Fisher.   The award for Top Fundraising Team went to Team Wagner.  The award for Top Individual Fundraiser went to Arthur Dunnam.  The award for the largest team went to Josh Gruss and his team, Team Fleming, with 20 members.

All race participants received an HDRF-branded ultra-lightweight jacket, hat, race shirt, and finisher medal.  The first, second, and third-place winners received cash prizes of up to $500. Successful fundraisers also received special prizes for raising upwards of $250 and $1,000.

HDRF has been a leader in depression research since 2006, convening top neuroscientists from different universities to work together as a team. They collaborate and pool data to better understand the root causes of depression in the brain and to accelerate the next generation of treatments.  Currently, a clinical trial for a new category of medication is underway at Mount Sinai, Columbia and Stanford.

Race participants included: Elyce Arons, Krista and Alex Bard, Janna Bullock, Arthur Dunnam, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Kim Heirston, Simone Levinson, Geralyn Lucas, John Paulson, James and Teresa Remez and their daughters Sofia and Lila, Scott Snyder, and Sarah and Andrew Wetenhall.

You can view all of the finisher times by clicking here.

Thank you again to ALL our event donors, participants, and volunteers. Your commitment to HDRF’s critical research mission is making a world of difference.