On Monday, November 14th 2016, my husband and I attended the Silver Hill Hospital‘s Giving Hope Gala. It was one of the most emotional events I have ever attended. I think this is due to my own close relationship with what is being treated at Silver Hill but, also, the support the staff had for their colleagues and former patients who attended and spoke at the event.
Silver Hill Hospital is a psychiatric treatment facility in Connecticut. In just a few short years, Silver Hill achieved national recognition as a top-tier psychiatric hospital, revered for expert and compassionate treatment for patients struggling with mental illness or addiction. A steadfast adherence to their mission – “to provide the best treatment for mental illness and addiction; and to offer continuing support, counseling and education to patients and families in every phase of illness and recovery” – has shaped the hospital’s growth over time. Today, Silver Hill, a not-for-profit hospital, provides comprehensive inpatient, residential and outpatient programs for adolescents and adults covering the full spectrum of psychiatric diagnoses.
More than ever, is it important to support institutions like these. Many government funded facilities have closed and there is no longer the option of care as there used to be and unfortunately, many can’t afford treatment facilities like these. But that is what this gala is all about. Raising money to help patients, who can’t afford the treatment themselves.
There were several people speaking that evening who had been there themselves or understood the importance of the evening. As the co-hosts said themselves: “This evening is about something everyone can agree on, the urgent and continuing need for mental health solutions,” said co-host Mika Brzezinski. “The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in five, or roughly 43 million Americans currently suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder.”
“Silver Hill provides much more than hope, they provide results,” said co-host Joe Scarborough. Brzezinski continued: “I want to be blunt. I have been to Silver Hill. I have seen first-hand what it is like to be treated there. I have seen the process, I have met the doctors and therapists. I have never seen such compassion, understanding, instinct, fluidity of thinking, trust and love, coupled with the highest quality of treatment.”
Many times when I attend these kinds of events you sort of get immune to the “let’s make this a feel good story and paint everything pretty so that people will donate”, but I sat at the table with several staffers and the support they showed everyone on that stage and each other throughout the evening was inspiring. I, truly, believed every work Mika Brzezinski said: “I have never seen such compassion, understanding, instinct, fluidity of thinking, trust and love.” It was very apparent.
One of the speakers were Chris Herren, a former NBA player that had been through addiction and battles it every day. His story was told many times but that did not stop him from telling every horrible truth about himself and his experience as an addict. His brutal honesty, was inspiring and you can tell he fights every day to stay sober and be there for his family.
More than 500 guests attended the gala that also included a live auction and a special set by DJ Cassidy. The evening raised no less than $1.15 million. Just $100K shy of their goal, but I had hoped they had superseded that goal as it is truly needed. Read about the treatment center and donate if you can: it is a great cause that is more important than ever.
Photos by Patrickmcmullan.com/Sylvain Gaboury and Sean Zanni