Supporter of mental health awareness, philanthropist, former Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Board Member and passionate mental health supporter, Mary Yates Wallace passed away on September 1 at the age of 80.
Mary Wallace first entered the community of leadership in brain and behavior research supporting her husband, the late Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” fame, when he was honored with the Humanitarian Award given by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, then known as NARSAD – the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. The organization honored him for his exceptional and effective communication to the public on the issues of depression and suicide risk. He spoke openly of his own crisis in severe depression beginning in 1984. He publicly admitted to attempting suicide and quickly began advocating for mental health research and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. He was joined in this frank communication by his wife Mary who spoke of how she stood at his side and gave him support at critical moments in the crises of these mental challenges. Mrs. Wallace joined her husband in his effort to communicate the risks of depression, dramatically participating with him in extensive television interviews. She took every opportunity to bring the message that family support and understanding could aid in overcoming these crises in mental illness. She demonstrated that support in her warm relationship of many years with her distinguished husband.
Rendering public service in this field, she joined the board of directors of NARSAD, now the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, in 2001 and continued to serve through 2007. She encouraged her husband to communicate at events sponsored by this Foundation, as he received the NARSAD Luminary Award for his forthright leadership in discussing recovery from depression at a “Sunshine from Darkness” Gala in 2003, and at the New York City Annual National Gala Awards Dinner when he presented awards to scientists in 2004. Activities together with her husband in support of this cause included honoring Larry King, the leader of the TV show “Larry King Live”, at a NARSAD event in 2007.
Mrs. Wallace had a long career in public service. After the death of her first husband, Fredrick L. Ted Yates, Jr. (who was killed in Jerusalem while covering the 1967 Arab-Israeli War), she worked as an independent documentary film maker. She became the executive producer of the CBS news program, Face the Nation, from 1974 to 1980. In 1986, she married Mike Wallace. Mr. Wallace died in April of this year. Her diverse career began as a model for the Italian fashion designer, Emilio Pucci and for Vogue magazine in Paris. In recent years, she has lived mainly in New York City and on Martha’s Vineyard.
Among her philanthropies was that she joined Mr. Wallace in co-founding the Wallace House for Knight-Wallace Fellows at the University of Michigan, his alma mater.
Mrs. Wallace exemplified leadership, passionate commitment to mental health and wise judgment in all of her efforts supporting the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, as well other entities.