On April 10, Diane Patrick, first lady of Massachusetts and a champion for fighting the stigma related to mental illness, served as the convener for the inaugural annual meeting of McLean Hospital’s Board of Visitors. This newly established group was formed with the goal of helping McLean forge deeper connections with advocates, community members and individuals who want to know more about the hospital’s programs and services and the most important issues in mental health today.
The Board of Visitors is comprised of 169 friends of the hospital, community leaders, public officials, media representatives, and various other members of the community who share an interest in mental health. Additionally, actress Glenn Close, her sister Jessie Close and nephew Calen Pick, actress Mariel Hemingway, author Patricia Cornwell, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and journalists Bob and Lee Woodruff serve as honorary members. They have all been recipients of the prestigious McLean Award for furthering the public’s understanding of mental health issues.
Members of the Board are asked to:
- Become informed of McLean’s programs and services, and important issues in mental health
- Participate in an annual meeting and reception, during which they will receive information about McLean’s programs, engage in discussions of key issues, interact with clinicians and scientists, and meet others who share a deep interest in mental health
- Advocate for mental health awareness and help combat the stigma related to psychiatric illness
In an effort to encourage those struggling with mental health issues to seek help, Mrs. Patrick has spoken before local and national audiences about her own experiences with depression and its treatment. In her convening remarks at the April 10 meeting, Mrs. Patrick emphasized the importance of McLean’s mission.
“I am here to honor the work of this critically important institution,” she said. “We can all benefit from a lot more discussion about mental health.”
Mrs. Patrick is a partner in Ropes & Gray’s Labor & Employment practice group and is co-managing partner of its Boston office. She has served on the boards of Jane Doe, Inc. and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, among others. Currently, she is a member of the boards of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Posse Foundation and The Epiphany School.
More than 80 members attended the Board of Visitors inaugural meeting, which was organized by McLean’s development office. Responses from attendees were overwhelmingly positive. “[What I found most valuable about the meeting was] being able to understand the breadth and depth of McLean’s mission, hearing first-hand about leading edge research, feeling the strong sense of dedication and compassion for care and hearing the personal stories from other parents who attended,” remarked one member.
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