Mental Health: How The Pardes Prize Is Making A Difference

Posted: June 14, 2016

International Prize Shines Light on Global Mental Health Crisis

NEW YORK (June 14, 2016) -- Suicide is among the top ten causes of death in the U.S. One in four people worldwide suffer from some type of mental illness. Two-thirds of them do not get the treatment they need. We are faced with mass shootings, a rise in heroin addiction, young people lured into terrorist groups, veterans suffering with PTSD, and increases in depression and anxiety among children and adults. These are stark illustrations that mental illness is a major international problem.

What is being done?

A committee of some of the world’s leading minds in psychiatry met recently to help put a spotlight on those who are working tirelessly to bring hope and healing to the millions suffering with mental illness. They reviewed nominations from the United States and abroad to select the 2016 winner of the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health. The international Pardes Humanitarian Prize is the only award of its kind recognizing a physician, scientist or public citizen whose extraordinary contribution has helped improve the lives of people affected by mental illness and has advanced the understanding of mental health. The recipient of the Pardes Humanitarian Prize will be announced later this year and will receive a $300,000 honorarium.


Why the Pardes Humanitarian Prize?

Recognizing the urgent need to expand and enhance mental health services worldwide, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize was established in 2014 to focus public attention on the devastating burden of mental illness on individuals and society. The Prize, which is awarded annually by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, is named in honor of Dr. Herbert Pardes, the noted psychiatrist and lifelong advocate for the mentally ill. Dr. Pardes is the former director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, Past President of the American Psychiatric Association, Former Chairman of Psychiatry and Dean at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is currently President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian.

Dr. Pardes, says, “Mental health is the largest single health challenge in the world. There is an urgent need to expand and enhance mental health services both in the developed world and in developing countries. Many hands, hearts and minds are needed to address the problem. The Pardes Humanitarian Prize will serve as a catalyst by recognizing those

who are already having a powerful impact on reducing the pain inflicted by psychiatric illness. We will inspire others to join in this urgent and important work.”

Steve Lieber, Chairman of the Board of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, says, “Since the establishment of the Nobel Prize in 1901, the world has celebrated scientific achievements of outstanding innovators in branches of science and learning, ranging from mathematics to chemistry, to physics, to astronomy and to medicine. And, of course, the Nobel Peace Prize recognizes extraordinary achievements that uplift human society. The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is a vehicle for giving recognition to leaders in society who devote their lives to benefit children and adults worldwide who suffer from, or are victimized by behavioral disorders. The Prize has opened an underappreciated window of opportunity for improving lives.”

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, says, “The Pardes Humanitarian Prize focuses on individuals around the world who are using their human intellectual and social abilities to bring the joy of living to those struggling with mental illness. Their work as teachers, researchers, physicians, advocates, and citizens of the world has a powerful impact on reducing the pain of psychiatric illness.”

Past Recipients of the Pardes Prize:

  • Herbert Pardes, MD (2014)
  • Beatrix (Betty) A. Hamburg, MD and David A. Hamburg, MD   (2015)
  • Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States (Honorary Recipient 2015)

About the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation:

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. The Foundation funds the most innovative ideas in neuroscience and psychiatry to better understand the causes and develop new ways to treat brain and behavior disorders. These disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $346 million to fund more than 5,000 grants to more than 4,000 leading scientists around the world. This has led to over $3 billion in additional funding for these scientists. The Foundation is also dedicated to educating the public about mental health and the importance of research including the impact that new discoveries have on improving the lives of those with mental illness, which will ultimately enable people to live full, happy and productive lives. For more information, visit