Announcing the 2017 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health

Posted: August 14, 2017
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health was established in 2014, and is awarded annually to recognize individuals or organizations that are making a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness. The Prize is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, M.D., a noted psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient.

The 2017 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is being awarded to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), for its visionary and pioneering work providing urgent and often neglected mental health care to people facing crises across the globe. The award will be presented at a ceremony in New York City on Friday, October 27 by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

MSF doctors and nurses are often seen treating physical ailments: bandaging the war-wounded, rehydrating a cholera patient, or performing an emergency cesarean section. But for more than 20 years, MSF has also been providing vital psychiatric and psychological care to people ravaged by man-made or natural disaster. The organization currently has mental health related programs in 41 countries across five continents treating adults and children who are victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, sexual violence, neglect, psychiatric disorders and disease outbreaks.

“In so many corners of the world, people are facing horrific violence, displacement, abuse, disease, and stigma. All too often, while addressing their urgent physical needs, we forget their equally urgent need for mental health care. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is a powerful force providing mental health services for people in desperate circumstances who have no other source of assistance or therapeutic intervention.” – Dr. Herbert Pardes, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital

“This award is a tremendous honor, both as a recognition of the work of MSF, but especially of the needs of our patients and the crucial role that mental health support can play in helping to heal people in crisis. It is our sincere hope that this award will shine a light on the immense mental health needs faced by people dealing with the scars of war and conflict, forced migration, sexual violence, the isolation of psychiatric disorders and the stigma of devastating diagnoses such as HIV and tuberculosis.” - Kaz de Jong, mental health specialist for MSF

Learn more about Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières and the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health.