April 28, 2004
Source: Eli Lilly and Co.
It has been said that behind every good man, there is a great woman. To update the adage, behind every person with a chronic health issue, there is likely a family caregiver working round the clock to ensure proper care and dignity for their loved one. Both can be said of Suzanne Mintz, this year's recipient of the Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Ms. Mintz is the president and co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), a grass-roots organization based in Washington, D.C., and borne out of a heart-to-heart talk between two friends more than a decade ago. After her husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Ms. Mintz began taking care of him without regard to the considerable responsibility that she faced and the strain it could take on her own health. Within time, she succumbed to depression.
"Suzanne has broken new ground in terms of getting people to recognize and seek help for depression," said Rodrigo Munoz, MD, Welcome Back Awards committee member, past-president of the American Psychiatric Association and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. "It is her honesty about her own experience with depression and with caregiving that resonates with members of her organization."
A self-described "quick-study" and type-A personality, Ms. Mintz has found her calling as the voice of the more than 50 million Americans who provide care to a friend or family member each year. NFCA is the only organization of its kind that reaches across the boundaries of different diagnoses, different relationships and different life stages to address the common needs and concerns of all family caregivers.
Depression affects those who care for loved ones at alarming rates. Anywhere from 30 percent to 59 percent of family caregivers suffer depression, according to recent polls. Ms. Mintz advocates for mental health awareness among caregivers.
"Being public about depression is the first step to getting support," she says. "And asking for support -- sometimes demanding it -- will keep important family structures intact."
Ms. Mintz is one of five individuals who will be honored at the sixth annual Welcome Back Awards ceremony on May 1, in New York City. Sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, the Welcome Back Awards is a national program that recognizes outstanding individuals who make a difference in the depression community. In addition to her award, a $7,500 contribution from Eli Lilly and Company will be donated to the National Family Caregivers Association on behalf of Ms. Mintz.
Nominations for the 2005 Lilly Welcome Back Awards
may be submitted by
anyone wishing to recognize an individual for outstanding achievements
the depression community. For more information, call 800-463-6440
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