Ellen Levine and Ambassador Swanee Hunt to Lead a Dynamic Dialogue, "Women Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness," at the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Women's Luncheon on November 13

Posted: October 24, 2013


(New York, N.Y. – October, 2013): The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation will hold its first Women's Luncheon, on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. Speakers Ellen Levine, Editorial Director of Hearst Magazines, and Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Harvard University's Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, will address the pressing need for public engagement to solve the issues around stigma that still keep people from being effectively treated and accepted.

Ambassador Hunt will share her own story about helping her daughter Lillian through years of struggle with brain disease. She strives to convince society to accept mental illness as yet another physical illness; to convince the public to discard shame and guilt about the mental disorders; and to support available cutting-edge research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent and cure mental illness.

"Decades ago no one would discuss breast cancer in polite company. Then women such as First Lady Betty Ford broke the silence by speaking in public about their own diagnoses and treatment,” said Ambassador Hunt. “Today, cancer is no longer a stigma, but mental illnesses still remain hidden despite decades of research demonstrating that they are biological illnesses affecting millions of people around the world. We hope that this luncheon will open not only dialogue, but also possibilities to improve the lives of so many people suffering in silence.”

Swanee Hunt has had a wide-ranging career in the arts, politics, journalism, and mental health advocacy. Appointed by President Clinton, Ms. Hunt served as Ambassador to Austria from 1993-1997, a period that spanned the Balkan conflicts, and a time during which she was also, as revealed in her 1996 article in Good Housekeeping magazine, struggling to get her daughter help for what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Ms. Hunt has worked in 60 countries and is known internationally for her diplomatic leadership and efforts to achieve gender parity. In Colorado, she headed a successful reform of the mental health system, and served as co-director of Karis Community, a residential facility for adults challenged by mental illness. Currently, Ms. Hunt serves as Chair of The Institute for Inclusive Security and The Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

As Editorial Director of Hearst Magazines, Ms. Levine is responsible for a range of publications (including such women’s titles as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Redbook and Woman’s Day), developing new titles domestically and internationally, and evaluating opportunities for brand extensions, books, and digital alternatives. Ms. Levine made publishing history in October 1994 as the first woman to be named Editor-in-Chief of Good Housekeeping since the magazine was founded in 1885. She has been instrumental in launching new titles at Hearst Magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine in 1999, the most successful magazine launch ever, and Food Network Magazine in 2008. In January 2004, the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) inducted Ms. Levine into the Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame. In addition, Ms. Levine was awarded the first annual Media Award by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) for the numerous articles on mental illness she published in Good Housekeeping  and a Special Recognition for Research Advocacy award from Research America in 1997.

The Metropolitan Club is located at 1 East 60th Street, New York NY 10022.Tickets for the luncheon are $250 per person or $2,500 for a table of 10. To register, go to www.bbrfoundation.org/WomensLuncheon or call (800) 829-8289.

About the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly known as NARSAD or the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) raises funds to invest in cutting-edge research projects to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent and cure mental illness. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded over $300 million in its NARSAD Grants to more than 3,700 scientists around the world. Research projects are selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council comprised of 147 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research. Funded through private contributions, the Foundation invests 100% of donor contributions for research directly into research grants. For more information, visit www.bbrfoundation.org.