For several years, Andy Friedman had been in therapy to address his difficulty with social interactions. But that wasn’t the whole story, his therapist told him. He had depression. “I was shocked,” said Andy, who was in his 40s at the time. “It was the first time I had heard that.” With that diagnosis, Andy began a journey toward recovery that would eventually bring him to Sheppard Pratt.
Andy had been a senior partner in a large Washington, DC law firm. After that, he became a well-respected political commentator, speaking extensively on the impact of Washington’s developments on the markets, investments, and taxes. Despite his struggles to form personal relationships, Andy had always thrived at work. “I could manage my public speaking because I could separate my professional role from my personal life,” he said. “Being a speaker and writer is a one-way connection.”
Andy stuck with therapy and tried different medications to treat his depression. But in August 2017, he reached a crisis point. He checked himself into The Retreat, Sheppard Pratt’s private pay, intensive residential program for adults with mental health needs. That is where Andy met Scott Aaronson, MD, the head of the Institute for Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Sheppard Pratt.
The institute brings together expert clinical care for difficult-to-treat illnesses with a center of research developing brand-new treatment modalities. With this pioneering vision, Dr. Aaronson prescribed Andy an innovative mix of treatments that, for the first time, brought Andy relief. Sheppard Pratt had the right mix of evidence-based methods and cutting-edge expertise. “Dr. Aaronson was very creative in coming up with the right combination of medications,” Andy said. “He devised a solution no one else had considered.”
As he moved on with his life, Andy wanted to support Dr. Aaronson’s life-changing clinical work. He continues to contribute to Sheppard Pratt to this day, furthering the institute’s research and treatment of resistant depression like his.
Now 67 and recently retired, Andy and his wife, Susan, are empty nesters looking forward to a fulfilling future. Andy is taking classes to become a volunteer mediator, using his expertise in the law to help people stay out of court. He acknowledges he still has bouts of depression occasionally but says they are shorter and less intense than before he came to Sheppard Pratt. His ability to engage with people on a personal level has improved significantly.
He remains grateful to Sheppard Pratt and the care he received from Dr. Aaronson. “I feel very good about my donations,” he said, adding that he plans to continue supporting the organization and helping people like him see the bright future that lies on the other side of treatment.
Sheppard Pratt’s mental healthcare is life-changing for people of all ages and diagnoses. Philanthropic support is vital to our continued efforts to provide these critical services where they are needed most. For information about supporting Sheppard Pratt’s care and services, contact Julie Marshall at email@example.com.