Skip to main content

Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Walk for Hope: Funding Breakthroughs in Mental Illness Research

The Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness (FOH) is making significant strides in the battle against mental illness with its latest funding initiative. Approving over $987,000 in research grants to fourteen investigators at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Psychiatry, the FOH aims to support groundbreaking projects aimed at improving the lives of those affected by mental and behavioral conditions.

The grants cover a wide range of areas, including alcoholism and addiction, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and women's mood disorders. The funded researchers, including renowned names like Dr. Elizabeth Andersen, Dr. Joyce Besheer, and Dr. Julia Riddle, will delve into various aspects of mental illness, seeking innovative solutions and potential breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment.

One notable grant recipient is Dr. Danielle Roubinov, Director of the Foundation of Hope Child and Adolescent Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program (CHAAMP) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on investigating the effects of parental trauma on the development and severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in children. The CHAAMP program, launched in 2021, aims to identify and develop cutting-edge prevention and intervention treatments for young individuals struggling with anxiety and mood disorders.

 The importance of these research grants cannot be overstated, especially in light of the alarming statistics surrounding mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), psychiatric disorders affect 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children annually. Even minor manifestations of mental illness can have severe consequences, further exacerbated by social stigma and isolation.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already pressing mental health needs, making discussions about treatment modalities, clinical services, and care access more urgent than ever. The FOH's funding supports innovative research that aims to address these pressing issues and improve the lives of those struggling with mental health.

Shelley Belk, Executive Director of the FOH, emphasizes the organization's commitment to funding critical research with the potential to change the trajectory of people's lives. Belk recognizes the increased prevalence of mental illness in the wake of the pandemic and asserts that research is the key to providing hope and tangible solutions.

The grants provided by the FOH will enable researchers to explore new frontiers in mental health, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and methodologies. Dr. Elizabeth Andersen's project, for instance, will investigate the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying sex-specific testosterone-mood relationships during puberty using a smartphone-based training program. Dr. Flavio Frohlich's work focuses on developing the Carolina Recovery from Depression Protocol (CARED), a novel rapid treatment paradigm for depression.

The FOH's commitment to mental illness research is admirable and has already made a significant impact. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded over 186 scientific research grants, totaling more than $8.4 million. These funds have also attracted an additional $231 million from esteemed institutions such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies.

To support the Foundation of Hope and its mission to conquer mental illness, individuals can participate in the Walk for Hope, an annual event that raises funds and awareness. The Walk for Hope, organized by the FOH, invites individuals from all walks of life to come together and make a difference. By participating or donating, you contribute directly to the advancement of mental illness research and treatment.

To learn more about the Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness, the Walk for Hope, or to make a contribution, visit their official website at or call 919-781-9255.

Save the Date - Sunday, October 8!

Mark your calendar to join the Downtowner for the 35th Annual Thad & Alice Eure Walk for Hope on Sunday, October 8, 2023. Don't miss this Walk, Run, and family-friendly Festival to support mental illness research!

Relive the MAGIC of last year's Walk in the video below - a picture-perfect day, HUGE crowd, and The Embers (who are coming back again this year)! 2022 Walk for Hope recap video

Click here to register for this year’s Walk for Hope!