Mountain View, Calif. – June 8, 2018 – Friends and supporters of El Camino Hospital gathered in the formal gardens of the historic Morgan Estate in Los Altos Hills on Saturday evening, May 5 for Spring Forward, a gala benefiting mental health and addiction services. The program designed to create a conversation and reduce the stigma often associated with mental health conditions featured a discussion between actress Brooke Shields and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Lisa Abramson, moderated by former Silicon Valley Business Journal editor Moryt Milo. Their discussion inspired generous donations to the “I Believe” fund-in-need appeal, which was followed by dessert and dancing to the music of Grammy winner Tony Lindsay, world-renowned singer for Santana.
“Tens of millions of people in the United States are affected by mental illness, yet the National Institute of Mental Health estimates only half receive treatment,” El Camino Hospital Foundation Board Chair Lane Melchor explained as he thanked guests for “stepping out and stepping up” to support the hospital’s expansion of pioneering outpatient mental health and addiction programs, and construction of a new inpatient pavilion.
Brooke and Lisa described experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression that worsened in the weeks and months following the births of their first children. ”My biochemistry was out of whack but I didn’t know,” Brooke recounted. “At follow-up visits the doctor only asked about the baby. No one asks about you.” Lisa, an executive coach and mindfulness teacher, became paranoid and went to a San Francisco hospital ER after desperate thoughts of suicide. For Moryt, mental illness was defined through her son, who was diagnosed with a severe mental illness at the age of 21.
Brooke and Lisa eventually found effective treatment and were able to be better prepared when they decided to have a second child. Lisa entered the partial hospitalization and Maternal Outreach Mood Services (MOMS) programs at El Camino Hospital. Now both women continue to have successful careers and are the loving mothers of two healthy daughters. Moryt’s son too was stabilized at El Camino Hospital, nine months after being homeless on the streets of San Francisco. Since his treatment, his personality has reemerged and he is back in college. All overcame the challenges of understanding what was happening, finding the right treatment, and making sure a support system was in place thereafter. “It is vital to support model programs for the treatment of mental illness, like those at El Camino Hospital,” concluded Moryt. “Today’s needs are more critical than ever.”
Los Altos Hills philanthropists Mary and Doug Scrivner, donors to After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education (ASPIRE), El Camino Hospital’s adolescent mental health program, and Maja Nelson, grateful parent of an ASPIRE graduate, further inspired generous paddle raises during the “I Believe” fund-in-need appeal. The first time event raised over $155,000 to fulfill the promise and support Mental Health & Addiction Services at El Camino Hospital.
“At El Camino Hospital, we are proud to lead the way forward in the development of effective, compassionate treatment for mental health conditions and addiction that meets observed needs in our community,” Mental Health & Addiction Services Executive Director Michael Fitzgerald concluded before inviting guests to enjoy dessert and dancing in the ballroom.