Giving Back

Paying It Forward

Gary Mann began experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia in his late teens. For a time, he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, believing they would “fix his brain.” Instead, his condition worsened. He entered a revolving door of treatment programs, but when he found Sheppard Pratt, he found a path to recovery. 

With medication management, therapy, case management, and participation in 12-step programs for addiction, Gary learned the skills and tools necessary to manage his illness.

Wilson Mann, Gary’s brother, said: “Because of Sheppard Pratt, my brother did not die on the streets of Baltimore. Because of you, I actually have a brother.”

That’s why, when Gary and Wilson’s mother, Barbara, asked her children to donate her bequest to an organization that supported people with schizophrenia, they came back to Sheppard Pratt. Gary and Wilson consulted with their sister, Emily Leichter. Together, they decided to fulfill their mother’s wishes by supporting On Track, a Sheppard Pratt program that provides therapy and case management for people experiencing psychosis for the first time. OnTrack works to show patients that they can live happy and successful lives when their symptoms are managed effectively. 

Gary is a living testament to that goal. Following his treatment at Sheppard Pratt, Gary moved to Maine and worked at a company that provided direct support for people with mental illness. He had just earned an associate degree and celebrated 20 years of sobriety when the president of his company promoted him to case manager. He held that position until his recent retirement. Gary says his personal experience living with mental illness helped him to “look at people outside the box and see them in a nonjudgmental way.” 

After presenting their mother’s gift to Sheppard Pratt, Wilson thanked Sheppard Pratt for its role in the family’s story: “When Gary recovered, he came back into our lives. Thank you for helping him recover and come home.” Gary exemplifies the potential of people living with mental illness to thrive and be a force for good in their communities.

By supporting the OnTrack program, the Mann family’s gift will help more young people with schizophrenia achieve their goals in school, work, and relationships. Just as Sheppard Pratt was there for the Mann family in their time of need, their legacy gift will help countless other families keep their loved ones on track for healthy and fulfilling lives.

Support Mental Health Care

Sheppard Pratt has more than 160 programs that help people with a wide range of mental illnesses. If you are interested in supporting one of Sheppard Pratt’s programs, email Director of Development Julie Marshall.