‘Race For Hope’ in Southampton raises awareness and funds for depression research
Long Islanders came together in Southampton Sunday to raise awareness and money for depression research.
There were 250 runners who participated in the sixth annual Race of Hope event that benefited the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, also known as HDRF.
The not-for-profit conducts neuroscience research and develops treatments for mental health disorders.
Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in 2006 in memory of her mother, Hope Beauvais, who struggled with depression. She said COVID-19 is having an impact on those who struggle with depression and anxiety.
"And now especially during the pandemic, statistics show over 41% of Americans struggle with depression or anxiety. It's a terrible thing. And our foundation is now leading the way in advanced research to find a cure for depression, to find new medications and to find ways to prevent depression," Gruss said.
Dr. Jason Schwartz, who ran in the race, said he has seen an uptick in depression and anxiety cases at his practice in Wainscott.
"It's escalated quite a bit. People's lives have been upturned and it's been tough for people of all ages -- kids all the way to geriatrics," he said.
Journalist Katie Couric, the grand marshal of the race, hopes the event will raise awareness about mental health issues.
"We need to destigmatize it, we need to talk about it because the more you destigmatize it, the more people will feel comfortable discussing it and getting the help they need," Couric said.
Every one of the runners received a medal at the finish line, but they said the best reward is knowing that they made a difference.
"We have a lot of friends who suffer from depression and it's a silent, troublesome thing for our country and we like to participate and contribute to the cause," said runner Henry Schloss, who came from Denver, Colorado to participate.
The event raised more than $300,000.
Hope For Depression: Website
The Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment: More Information
Long Island Crisis Center: Website