Sean Mayberry was selected as the winner of the Honorary 2022 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, awarded by The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. The Honorary Prize Recipients were chosen by an esteemed panel for their groundbreaking work in global mental health.
“The 2022 Pardes Prize recipients personify the deep knowledge and understanding of human behavior and the compassion for people suffering from mental illness with limited access to needed services,” said Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “We applaud their groundbreaking work and honor their service.”
“These talented and accomplished leaders are striving to expand the reach of mental illness treatment here in the U.S. and around the globe. They serve as extraordinary advocates for mental health and inspire us all to use our knowledge toward the greater good for all humanity,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
While working in Africa implementing HIV/AIDS and malaria programs, Sean Mayberry, a former diplomat, and social marketer saw firsthand the challenges of millions of women with mental illness. He was determined to find a solution. In 2013, he came across a Johns Hopkins University study that showed remarkable success in treating depression in individuals in Uganda using Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G) facilitated by lay community health workers. The potential of this simple, low-cost intervention inspired Sean to quit his job and start a new organization called StrongMinds, to provide depression treatment to women in Africa, most with no access to effective treatment.
Since its founding, StrongMinds has treated depression in over 150,000 women and adolescents in Uganda and Zambia. On average, over 80% are depression-free following therapy. Through Sean’s inspirational vision, StrongMinds has proven that IPT-G is a simple, cost-effective way to scale access to depression treatment for underserved populations. IPT is now a WHO- recommended first-line intervention and is being delivered in many countries.
About Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness. These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $440 million to fund more than 5,100 leading scientists around the world, which has led to over $4 billion in additional funding for these scientists. 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research. BBRF operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants. BBRF is the producer of the Emmy® nominated public television series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, which aims to remove the stigma of mental illness and demonstrate that with help, there is hope.2