Horizons – Spring 2023

A publication for friends and supporters of McLean Hospital

June 16, 2023

Welcome to the spring 2023 edition of Horizons. We’re sure you will notice the new look of our print magazine (available below), which reflects our deepening integration with Mass General Brigham, our parent health care system.

As its largest provider of behavioral and mental health services, McLean Hospital holds a special place within Mass General Brigham. And with the power of a fully integrated health care system behind us, McLean is leading the way in delivering coordinated, patient-centered mental health care.

In the spirit of moving forward, this edition highlights new initiatives both on the philanthropy front as well as in training opportunities for young psychologists.

You’ll read about three new child and adolescent intern positions—each one focusing on a different area within our Nancy and Richard Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We will welcome our first class this summer.

We’ve previously shared news about our community fundraising platform—DonorDrive—and with nearly a year under our belt, we’re pleased to write about two families who used the platform with great success. We hope their experiences might inspire others to try it out.

Finally, we offer stories about several enthusiastic and committed McLean supporters. One has worked with us for more than a decade to ensure her gifts have maximum impact. The others are young adults new to philanthropy who have turned their gratitude for life-changing treatment into a passion for supporting McLean.

In This Issue

Horizons cover Spring 2023

Tackling the Mental Health Crisis Among Young People—One Intern at a Time
You need only turn on the nightly news to be reminded of the mental health crisis facing today’s young people. According to Daniel P. Dickstein, MD, FAAP, chief of McLean’s Nancy and Richard Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, providing access to care in an efficient, affordable, and equitable way is one of the most pressing issues in child and adolescent mental health.

Community Fundraising Takes Hold at McLean
As two grateful families recently discovered, you don’t need to be a professional fundraiser to raise money for McLean. With support from the hospital’s online DonorDrive platform, the Smith and Merhige families turned their passion for helping those with mental illness into dollars supporting McLean’s mission. In positive and meaningful ways, these two families, and many more, are embracing the idea of community fundraising and creating impact in the process.

One Donor Asks: What Are We Doing This Year?
When long-time supporter Ann O’Keefe talks about McLean, she uses words like “scale,” “impact,” and “sustainability.” Ann is both eloquent and elegant in her approach to philanthropy and has honed her efforts into a process that both speaks to her own passions and provides maximum impact for McLean.

A Rollercoaster of a Journey: Anna Rittenburg’s Personal Experience Fuels Her Ride for Mental Health
Anna Rittenburg has always been a lively, active person, but early into the COVID-19 lockdown in the spring of 2020, her normally high energy level became increasingly grandiose and manic. “I got really wrapped up in existential concepts and the idea of information spread through social media. I stopped sleeping and was soon extremely paranoid and suspicious of everyone around me,” Anna explained.

Read More in the Full Issue

Supporting the Future of Mental Health Care

Chris Arce found McLean almost by accident. He’d had his own struggles with mental illness during high school and college and was misdiagnosed more than once.

After nearly three and a half years of taking antidepressants that did not help, Chris finally received a bipolar disorder diagnosis, found the treatment he needed, and today says he feels the best he’s ever felt.

During his journey, however, he had some upsetting encounters. Before he discovered McLean, he recalled overhearing a clinician at a local counseling center saying she wouldn’t be willing to treat a patient with borderline personality disorder because they were too difficult.

Chris was both shocked and unsettled by what he felt was an unhelpful and fundamentally stigmatizing attitude. This experience prompted him to learn more about mental health care as a field, which led him to McLean.

“I was immediately drawn to what I found,” said Chris. “McLean just felt different—more empathetic and compassionate.” He decided to direct his philanthropy to McLean and eventually accepted an invitation to attend a weekly Grand Rounds presentation.

“The lecturers were brilliant but accessible. They humanized mental illness and were completely person-focused. You could just tell that they cared deeply,” said Chris. “Their attitudes were in such stark contrast to my own past experiences that I was awestruck and knew that I wanted to support McLean for the rest of my life.”

Chris is now a leadership annual giving donor and member of the Mary Belknap Society. He also plans to share his story through McLean’s Deconstructing Stigma project.

“McLean gives me hope for the future of mental health care,” he explained. “I’m excited to support McLean so that young people who are struggling like I did will get more accurate diagnoses and better treatment.”

For more information about leadership annual giving, please contact Ben


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