Mental Health Association To Honor Bedford Author

  • Comments (1)
Bedford author Andrew Solomon will be honored by the Mental Health Association of Westchester on Oct. 17.
Bedford author Andrew Solomon will be honored by the Mental Health Association of Westchester on Oct. 17. Photo Credit: Contributed

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Bedford author Andrew Solomon will receive the Mental Health Association of Westchester Phoenix Award at An Evening At Metropolis, the group's annual benefit  dinner.

The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains. The annual event benefits and builds mental health services in Westchester. 

MHA’s Phoenix Award is bestowed upon individuals who shatter the stigma of mental illness.  These individuals share their stories and experiences publicly and positively to break down shame associated with mental illness.

Solomon’s first book, "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression" won the 2001 National Book Award for non-fiction and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize.  The book examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms and draws on his own struggle.

Solomon's newest book, "Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity," tells the stories of parents who not only have come to terms with their exceptional children, but have found profound meaning in doing so.  Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender.  Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Solomon has just completed his PhD in psychology at Cambridge University.  He is a lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College.  He is an activist and philanthropist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts. Solomon lives with his husband and son in New York and London.

Also being honored at the event are Dr. Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Practice Innovations, NYSPI, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Willa Brody, Director of Government and Community Relations, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Ralph Lieblich, MHA Volunteer.

MHA is a community-based mental health agency that has been helping Westchester County residents for 67 years through direct services, professional and community education and advocacy. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the MHA website.

  • 1

Comments (1)

As a dyslexic and someone who knows the joys and challenges of raising a child with multiple disabilities, I really enjoyed seeing this. I hope that in the future you will do more to look at rates and roles for people with disabilities (PWDs) in families, jobs, movies and media. According to the U.S. census, PWDs make up 18.6% of the population. However, according to a GLAAD study PWDs make up about 1% of the characters in scripted TV shows. And movies? There is not data yet.

It is vitally important to get images of people with disabilities (PWDs) into books and the
media -- the news, TV shows and movies. Why? Consider this: 70% of
working-age Americans with disabilities don't have jobs, even though most of
them want to work. That compares to 28% of Americans without disabilities who
don't have jobs. This disparity has resulted in extremely high levels of
poverty, isolation and financial dependency for Americans with disabilities,
costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year in government benefits.

In the new Michael J. Fox Show, the popular actor portrays a reporter with Parkinson's who re-enters the workforce. Because Fox is already so well-liked and talented, the disability community harbors high hopes that viewers will not only root for him, but will also absorb and accept the fact that people with disabilities can succeed in the workplace. We need more books like this one with Andrew Solomon, along with TV and movie and coverage that also offer positive images of people with disabilities. What we see impacts how we think. And what we think impacts how we act. And we need to be inclusive of ALL people -- all colors, sexual orientations, abilities, races, religions and more.