Realizing that the stigma needs to be lifted from the diagnosis of mental illness, Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation recently committed $20 million to the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine to advance research into the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
“Our own families have been touched by these illnesses over several generations,” says Andrew C. Taylor, chief executive officer and chairman of Enterprise Holdings. “In the news, we hear of so many tragedies involving mental illness. We, as a country, need to become better informed and support the research going on that can better treat or prevent these diseases.”
The generous gift will support the establishment of the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research.
“Our department has played a leading role in advancing criteria-based psychiatric diagnoses, and we’re now focused on finding new treatments as well as trying to better understand the mechanisms that trigger these disorders in the brain,” says Charles F. Zorumski, MD, the Samuel B. Guzé Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry.
“We put our family name front and center because we thought it could be a beacon, that it might attract interest both in psychiatry and philanthropy.”
— ANDREW TAYLOR
“Psychiatry has a huge problem in that current treatments are good, but not good enough for a significant number of people who either don’t respond to current medications or experience serious side effects,” says Zorumski, who also is a professor of neurobiology. “There is an incredible message in the gift from the Taylor family in that they want us to find better treatments to help those with mental illnesses who often have no other voice in society.”
“We put our family name front and center because we thought it could be a beacon, that it might attract interest both in psychiatry and the world of philanthropy,” says Taylor. “It’s going to take more gifts, large and small, to accelerate research into psychiatric disorders, and my hope is that this will yield another class or several classes of medications that can better address these illnesses.
“Since this gift was announced, I have received notes from people around the country who have been impacted by mental illness. What they tell me is that they now have a sense of hope — someone is paying attention. I want many people to pay attention because I think awareness promotes momentum.”