Mental Health Matters
A record 190 guests turned out at the Biltmore for the 73-year-old Mental Wellness Center’s 9th annual Merryl Brown-designed lunch, which was expected to raise $175,000 for general funds to help families, adults, and teens.
The keynote speaker was Sonali Beaven, an author and mental health advocate, who lost her father, Todd, on United Boeing 757 Flight 93, on September 11, 2001, when it crashed in Pennsylvania, supposedly on its way to destroy Washington’s Capitol Building, killing all 44 passengers on board and four al-Qaeda terrorists.
Sonali, who is studying to be a clinical psychologist, was just five years old at the time.
“It is only with time that I grasped the gravity of what occurred,” she said. “I was diagnosed with depression at twelve… I was consumed with a debilitating sadness. I felt deeply ashamed of being depressed. I felt suicidal.”
Among those listening to her deeply emotional speech were Marybeth Carty, Geoff Green, Peter MacDougall, John and Ellen Pillsbury, Thomas Rollerson, Anne Towbes, George Leis, Mary Ellen Tiffany, Rona Barrett, and Frank Tabar.