Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) held a reception with guest of honor Daphne Merkin, literary critic, essayist and novelist, on May 15, 2017 at The Metropolitan Club, where Merkin spoke about her new memoir, “This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression.”
The event was hosted by HDRF Founder & Chair Audrey Gruss to honor top donors of the Foundation, now entering its eleventh year of breakthrough brain research. She said that depression as a whole is under-funded, despite its prevalence and staggering cost to society, and that HDRF’s work is critical. She then welcomed founding member of HDRF’s Depression Task Force, Dr. Eric Nestler, Chief of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai, who gave a brief update on research progress. The brain has a billion nerve cells and one trillion connections, he said, so it is very complex to study, but the Depression Task Force has identified several genes and circuits that may underlie depression and lead to much-needed new treatments.
HDRF Executive Director Louisa Benton then introduced Daphne Merkin, whose spoke about her experience with clinical depression and read excerpts from This Close to Happy. Merkin said she began writing the book 16 years ago as a New Yorker article, and when it was published, “it felt like I was walking naked down the magazine’s corridors, as previously depression was something that stayed in the shadows.”
This Close to Happy is a vivid account of what it feels like to suffer from clinical depression over the arc of a lifetime. Merkin is a critic and writer for the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine. Her memoir offers a candid glimpse into an illness that many experience, but few talk about. Renowned psychologist Carol Gilligan calls it a vital addition to the literature of mental illness. The book is endorsed by Jill Soloway, Gloria Vanderbilt and more.
ABOUT HOPE FOR DEPRESSION RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The mission of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) is to fund the most innovative neuroscience research into the origins, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression and other mood disorders – bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide. It was founded in 2006 by Audrey Gruss in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with depression for decades.