On June 20, 2014, almost 400 members of the McLean community gathered at the InterContinental Boston to celebrate a year of achievements and to honor Jane Fonda with the 2014 McLean Award, given to individuals who have furthered the public’s understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health. In addition to being a critically-acclaimed actor with two Oscars, an Emmy, and a Lifetime Achievement Award, Fonda has been a longtime advocate for mental health awareness. She has been open about her personal struggles with an eating disorder as well as her family history marked by trauma and suicide.
Today, Fonda’s efforts are focused on promoting mental health for adolescents, particularly young women. Her book, Being A Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More, was released earlier this year.
Upon accepting the McLean Award, Fonda cited her mother, who had been a victim of sexual abuse and later took her own life, as her main source of inspiration. Fonda recognized the legacy that her mother’s trauma had left in her own life, impacting her own self-image. In her acceptance speech, Fonda commended the McLean staff for their wonderful work, particularly in the field of women’s mental health. “I am grateful for the compassion that McLean brings to its work,” said Fonda.
Before the dinner, Fonda toured the McLean campus, stopping at the Hill Center for Women and the Klarman Eating Disorders Center. She wrote about her experience on her blog at janefonda.com. “Having suffered from eating disorders myself for many years as a young woman, it made me happy that [McLean’s patients] were in a program that has such good success rates and I told several of them a bit about my own experiences and not to give up.”
Fonda’s appearance was just one of what turned out to be a star-studded evening attended by other celebrities, including 2013 McLean Award honoree and film director David O. Russell. Three former McLean patients became stars in their own right as their moving recovery stories were screened at the event.
The unofficial themes of the evening were women’s mental health and scientific discovery, as President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, announced two significant gifts to McLean: one to endow a chair for McLean’s chief scientific officer; another to support trauma research and McLean’s Division of Women’s Mental Health.
At the evening’s close, Dr. Rauch and Board Chairman David S. Barlow presented Fonda with a portrait by internationally renowned pop artist and McLean donor Romero Britto, painted especially for the occasion.