History of IMHRO: Mental Illness, Recovery and Redemption

The Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health

Shari and Garen Staglin’s son Brandon was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1990. It rocked their family’s life–but with proper care and much love and support, Brandon was able to recover. Now, since 1995, the whole Staglin family is changing “the landscape from the Napa Valley to Washington, D.C. with sensational fundraisers on behalf of…national mental health research.” (Jeanne Winnick Brennan, LuxLife magazine) Their Music Festival for Mental Health brings together generous chefs, wineries, top-bill musicians and scientists to raise money and awareness for the cause. Thanks to its donors and follow-on research support from the National Insitute for Mental Health, the Music Festival has been able to fund some amazing projects and help thousands of people. Read more at the Music Festival website.

Sunshine from DarknessWhen Lee and Bob Peterson’s son was diagnosed with schizophrenia some thirty years ago, they could not accept resigning him to a lifetime of mental hospital care. Instead, they took on firsthand the quest for a cure for their son’s illness. In 1986, they were involved in the founding of NARSAD, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Ten years later they founded their own chapter, NARSAD Florida, which in 2008 became its own non-profit, Sunshine from Darkness. Over twelve years, the “Sunshine from Darkness” gala has blossomed from its original Sarasota venue home into several events in Bradenton, Venice and Tampa taking place year-round. Together, these events have raised over $4 million for mental health research! Learn more at the Sunshine from Darkness website.The Formation of IMHROIn October 2008, these two families came together with other mental health supporters from around the U.S. and Canada to form the International Mental Health Research Organization. Now, we of IMHRO have high hopes that our combined momentum will encourage even more people worldwide to get excited about supporting brain disease research. With rapidly growing knowledge in the science of mental health, it is a critical time in the search for cures. If enough people lend their support, we can lick major mental illness within our lifetimes.Learn how to support IMHRO

Shari and Garen have had a galvanizing effect on schizophrenia research that is almost impossible to quantify,” said Sophia Vinogradov, a researcher at University of California at San Francisco. “Not only through their phenomenal fundraising efforts, but more important, they are able to articulate a vision where very soon, through the advances of science, we will conquer schizophrenia. They are unfailingly optimistic and results-driven, and accept nothing less from the researchers they support. It’s electrifying.”

“How can one not support Sunshine from Darkness? This organization does such magnificent work supporting top scientists in research to uncover the causes of these horrible diseases of the mind. Congratulations Lee and Bob on your many years of service to this important organization.”