Child Mind Institute Co-Founder Debra Perelman Honored For Her Leadership To Improve Treatment For Childhood Mental Health Issues

Saturday, October 6, 2018 Mental Health News
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One in Five Children has a Diagnosable Mental Health Issue; Many Don't Get Help

NEW YORK, Oct. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Debra G. Perelman was honored last night by United Hospital Fund at its annual Gala with the Distinguished Community

Service Award for her leadership to improve awareness and treatment of childhood mental health issues.  Ms. Perelman is a Co-Founder and Vice Chair of Child Mind Institute (CMI), an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning issues. 

Ms. Perelman was moved by the magnitude of the problem: One in five children in the U.S. struggles with a mental health or learning issue—some mild, some severe—and yet a lack of awareness, stigma, and inadequate access to quality care keep the majority of these young people from getting the help they need. Children and adolescents suffering from mental health issues and not getting the treatment they need are at risk for academic failure, substance abuse, self-harm, and even suicide.

Ms. Perelman, child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz, MD, and Brooke Garber Neidich co-founded CMI in 2009 and shaped a three-pronged mission: providing the highest standard of care, advancing science of the developing brain, and elevating public awareness and education.

"The goal in developing the Child Mind Institute are to reach more people, to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, to explore new and different models of care, to advance science, and most important, to help give children their childhoods back faster," says Ms. Perelman.  "On average, it takes families about two years between the time they suspect a problem and the time they seek help.  Those years represent a critical developmental time when children could be getting life-changing help."

CMI draws young patients, with conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome, selective mutism, and ADHD, from across New York, 48 states, and 42 nations to receive care.  CMI's financial aid program, ardently championed by Ms. Perelman, has provided vital help to low-income families.  Fifty-six percent of patients at CMI receive free or reduced-cost services.  CMI also brings its services to schools in high-poverty neighborhoods across the metropolitan area, providing trauma care and resilience-building workshops—and training parents and teachers to identify children with mental health needs. 

CMI's scientific advisory board comprises experts from across the nation, and CMI's Healthy Brain Network is collecting brain images from 10,000 children, which will be the largest sample ever collected and available to the global scientific community to accelerate discovery. CMI has also mounted a number of successful public awareness and education initiatives. More than 20 million people have used CMI's website, and more than 500,000 people follow CMI on social media.

Ms. Perelman, a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Business School, is the first female CEO in Revlon's 86-year history. She has worked for the company over the past 20 years, including as Chief Operating Officer as well as a variety of roles in all facets of the business--finance, distribution and sales, international and marketing.  Along with her work at Revlon, Ms. Perelman served as a senior executive at MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated, a company that of public and private companies.

"Debbie Perelman is a passionate and tireless leader who is advancing the frontiers of children's mental health care," says United Hospital Fund President Anthony Shih, MD.  "We applaud her for her clear-sighted determination to make a difference—and help so many children and families in need."

Established by United Hospital Fund in 1987, the Distinguished Community Service Award recognizes volunteer leadership that significantly improves health care in New York City. For the thirteenth year, the Award has been generously supported by TIAA, the leading provider of retirement services in the medical, academic, research, and cultural fields. Roger Ferguson, President and CEO of TIAA, presented the award to Ms. Perelman.

About United Hospital Fund

United Hospital Fund works to build a more effective health care system for every New Yorker. An independent, nonprofit organization, we analyze public policy to inform decision-makers, find common ground among diverse stakeholders, and develop and support innovative programs that improve the quality, accessibility, affordability, and experience of patient care. For more on our initiatives and programs please visit our website at and follow us on Twitter. 

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SOURCE Child Mind Institute

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