Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015
Saddle River couple, Caryl and Jim Kourgelis, made a $500,000 donation to support the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center.
The gift, presented by the Caryl and Jim Kourgelis Fund for Addiction and Behavioral Health, will support research and treatment programs to advance the understanding of mental illness and develop safe and effective protocols. It will explore alternatives to medication in treating depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse.
“Mental illness remains a major cause of disability worldwide,” explained Diego Coira, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at The Debra Simon Center for Integrative and Behavioral Health and Wellness at HackensackUMC.
One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional, according to the World Health Organization. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.
After facing the addiction of a loved one, the Kourgelis family is supporting the exploration of modalities of treatment that go beyond the scope of traditional medication to better understand the complexity of the brain, by mapping the effects of more holistic approaches. Treatment modalities that don’t rely on medication include psychotherapy, exercise, nutrition and meditation.
“Addiction is a lifelong journey for the entire family and awareness at a young age is so important,” said Caryl Kourgelis.
Owners of Season’s, the Venetian and Shadowbrook Catering, where hundreds of thousands of people gather with family and friends to celebrate happy occasions, Jim and Caryl Kourgelis are dedicated to helping those impacted by the addiction of a loved one.
“It can be hard to tell who is suffering,” Jim Kourgelis said. “Many are good looking, popular, athletic, and also suffering. We need professionals to help them. We need science.”
Jim and Caryl Kourgelis are helping to advance both the science and the conversation by providing the funds to support these new research and treatment programs
“The Kourgelis family’s willingness to give so generously for the benefit of others is remarkable,” said Dr. Coira. “We offer them our gratitude and our commitment to improve our understanding and to eliminate the stigma of mental illness so that we may reduce suffering and promote well-being in our community and beyond.”
Pictured from left to right: Jon Fitzgerald, executive vice president and chief development officer of the HackensackUMC Foundation; Diego Coira, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at The Debra Simon Center for Integrative and Behavioral Health and Wellness at HackensackUMC; Caryl and Jim Kourgelis; and Helen Cunning, vice president, Development-Strategic Campaigns, HackensackUMC Foundation.
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