Fountain House Symposium Sheds Light On Anxiety

New York, N.Y. More than 600 attendees convened at The Pierre on May 6 for the annual Fountain House Symposium and Luncheon, which over the past 16 years has become New York’s premier lay forum addressing issues of serious mental illness. This year’s topic was The Anxiety Epidemic: New Research • New Insights.

2019SL0506-FH-luncheon-20webElizabeth Vargas and Judy Collins, honorees of the 16th Annual Fountain House
Symposium and Luncheon. Photo: Leslie Barbaro Photography.

Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 37% of those suffering receive treatment.

2019SL0506-FH-luncheon-23webSymposium panelists Sanjay J. Mathew, MD, Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP,
and Scott Stossel; Emcee Consuelo Mack and Fountain House President
Kenneth J. Dudek. Photo: Leslie Barbaro Photography.

A distinguished trio of Symposium panelists enlightened the audience on the complexities of anxiety. Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP of Columbia University and Sanjay J. Mathew, MD of Baylor College of Medicine presented the latest findings in research and treatment.

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Sharing experiences of his decades-long battle with severe anxiety was panelist Scott Stossel, national editor of The Atlantic and author of My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind. Consuelo Mack, the founder, executive producer and anchor of public television’s Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, was the emcee.

Fountain House honoree Judy Collins sang a few lines from“Both Sides Now.”

The event honored two dedicated mental health advocates: Judy Collins and Elizabeth Vargas. Collins, the recipient of the Fountain House Humanitarian Award, has inspired audiences through her vocals, songwriting, and commitment to social activism. At the event, she spoke candidly about her struggles with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism as well as the devastating suicide of her son. She also sang a few lines from the iconic “Both Sides Now” and encouraged the audience to sing along. The Emmy Award-winning Vargas, host of A&E Investigates, received the first-ever Fountain House Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. She has courageously shared her personal experiences with anxiety and alcoholism, and in the media she has demonstrated empathy and integrity in discussing the topic of mental illness.


A film was shown in celebration of Kenneth J. Dudek, who is retiring after 27 years as Fountain House President. During his tenure, Dudek created and implemented a strategic vision that has positioned Fountain House as a leader in the global search for cost-effective, humane, and successful solutions for people living with serious mental illness.

2019SL20190506-FH-luncheon-157web (1)-2Fountain House President Kenneth J. Dudek, who is retiring after 27 years
of innovative leadership. Photo: Leslie Barbaro Photography.

The film focused on his legacy of innovation, including numerous new programs such as Fountain House Gallery and Studio, College Re-Entry, Wellness, Fountain House Bronx, and more. The audience saluted Dudek with a standing ovation.

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The event raised over $1 million to support Fountain House programming and its innovative approach to improving the lives of people with serious mental illness. The Symposium and Luncheon was established to advance community knowledge of mental illness and reduce the associated stigma, and to raise vital funds for Fountain House’s groundbreaking employment, education, housing, and wellness programs.

FH2019_4-1Symposium and Luncheon Chairs Jennifer Oken, Ilyse Wilpon, Anne Mai,
Carolyn MacKenzie, Patricia Begley, Florence Peyrelongue, Lorna Hyde Graev,
Alexandra Herzan, and Kitty de Chazal. Photo: Leslie Barbaro Photography.

The Event Chairs were: Patricia Begley, Kitty de Chazal, Alexandra A. Herzan, Carolyn B. MacKenzie, Anne Mai, Jennifer Oken, Florence Peyrelongue, and Ilyse Wilpon. Founding Chairs are Lorna Hyde Graev and Lynn Nicholas, PsyD.

FH photoFountain House, 425 West 47th Street, New York City.
Photo: Courtesy Fountain House.

Fountain House empowers people living with serious mental illness to live and thrive in society. Each year, more than 1,600 members come to Fountain House to contribute their talents, learn new skills, access opportunities, and forge friendships.


For over 70 years, Fountain House has successfully addressed the devastating impact of serious mental illness. It is the most widely replicated evidence-based mental health treatment approach in the world, with over 300 model programs serving more than 100,000 people annually throughout the United States and in more than 30 countries.

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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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