Ashley Judd Receives High Honors at Hope for Depression Foundation Luncheon

Ashley Judd was honored for her bravery after being the first major star to go on the record about her experience with Harvey Weinstein, sparking a “tsunami” said Master of Ceremonies Chuck Scarborough, of subsequent revelations that have brought dark secrets into the open.

The Hope for Depression Research Foundation also honored the activist and author at its 11th Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar at The Plaza Hotel, for her compassion in speaking out abut her struggle with depression.

Tania Higgins_Julie Macklowe_Hope for Depression Research Foundation's 11th Annual Luncheon_Ashley Judd_The Plaza Hotel_aurey gruss_ashley judd

Photo – Jared Siskin/PMC

Judd received the 2017 HOPE Award for Depression Advocacy and accepted with a heartfelt speech, where she said,”I am in recovery from depression and about that I have no shame and I am a living example of why there is hope.” She spoke about her potential genetic predisposition to depression, and how thankful she was for the diagnosis of depression that she received when seeking professional help, because, “trauma not transformed is trauma transferred, and my trauma has been transformed and it’s simply here to be laid at the feet of others who may find it helpful.”

HDRF Founder & Chair Audrey Gruss saluted Ashley Judd and said; “Her willingness to share the details of her personal journey to help others learn to thrive is exactly what advocacy is about.”

Chuck Scarborough also acknowledged Judd for her heroism and then spoke about changing public attitudes surrounding depression and mind-brain illness in general.

He pointed out that many public figures in movies and sports have spoken out in the past year about depression, as well as the royal family: Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of York, Kate Middleton. He also informed the audience that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and that scientists are keen to better understand the genetic basis of the illness in order to better diagnose and treat this global public health epidemic.

Keynote medical speaker Dr. Eric Nestler, a world-renowned neuroscientist, then took the stage to address the luncheon’s featured topic “The Genetics of Depression: What is Known, What is Next.” Nestler is Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai.  He is also a founding member of the HDRF Depression Task Force, a team of seven acclaimed brain researchers from different institutions across North America who are pooling expertise and data to accelerate discovery.

The Luncheon Seminar Co-Chairs were Ann Barish, Caroline Dean, Peter Gregory, Kim Heirston, Tania Higgins, Margo Langenberg, Kitty McKnight, Peter S. Paine III, and Serena McKnight Bowman. Additional guests included: Frederick Anderson, Janna Bullock, Sharon Bush, Hilary Geary Ross, Jamee Gregory, Susan Gutfreund, Martin Gruss, Dayssi Kanavos, Kathy Hilton, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Karen LeFrak, Julie Macklowe, Scott Snyder, Jamie Tisch, Christine Mack, and Jackie Weld Drake.

Support the cause to raise further awareness about depression:  hope – the uplifting fragrance, an inspiring new fragrance collection sold at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and on 100% of net profits will go to HDRF’s depression research.


Ashley Judd, Audrey Gruss

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