The Ninth Annual Gala benefiting the Dave Nee Foundation will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at Fordham’s new Law School building at Lincoln Center. Designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

The evening will honor the beginnings of the Dave Nee Foundation and celebrate its bright future. We will be presenting our annual awards, the Ray of Light and the Dave Stoner Award. The entertainment will include live music (jazz quartet), cocktails, dinner and unique and fun opportunities to support the Dave Nee Foundation.

We are pleased to announce a partnership with Broken Light Collective, a nonprofit working with photographers living with or affected by mental illness. During the evening we will be featuring works from these photographers.

Introducing our Gala Honorees

Ray of Light Award Honoree, Therese Borchard 

Author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Guide. Ms. Borchard writes the blog Sanity Break on Everyday Health and is an Associate Editor and a regular contributor to Psych Central. She penned the blog Beyond Blue on Beliefnet.com for seven years, and still writes monthly articles for the site. She writes for other media outlets, as well, like The Huffington Post and PBS/This Emotional Life, and moderates a dynamic depression support group, Group Beyond Blue, on Facebook.

David S. Stoner, Uncommon Counselor Award Honoree, Yvette Hourigan

Yvette Hourigan was born and raised in Louisville, KY.  She graduated from Murray State University with degrees in political science and Russian. She is a 1988 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. After a clerkship with the (former) Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, she began her litigation career in product liability defense where she practiced with two large defense firms. She then opened her own plaintiff’s practice in 1998 where she practiced in all areas of civil litigation until 2011. She had significant verdicts in the areas of medical negligence, nursing home litigation and aviation disasters. In 2011, she was named the Executive Director of the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program. KYLAP provides assistance to all Kentucky law students, lawyers and judges with mental health issues and impairments including such issues as depression, addiction and compulsive disorders. KYLAP’s work in the area of lawyer and law student depression and suicide prevention have been featured nationally in The Huffington Post, USA Today, and on television on Legal View with Ashley Banfield. Yvette is married and lives with her family in Lexington, Kentucky. She is active in her recovery community and enjoys cooking, reading and needlepointing. Yvette was featured in this CNN piece on attorney suicides that aired in early 2014.

A Note From Our President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As some of you know, after eight years on the Board of Directors and three as the President of the Board, I am stepping away from the Dave Nee Foundation at the end of this year.

It has been an amazing journey to start a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit from scratch and, in addition to learning so much about mental health and the prevalence of depression in our society, the Foundation has also given me purpose and helped me cope with the untimely losses of first, Dave Nee, and then, David Stoner, whose absences I still feel on a daily basis.

I am proud of what you and I have done and the difference we have made together. At the Foundation, we have taken a huge set of problems — the ignorance of mental health issues in the world, the stigma too many associate with mental health, particularly depression, the reluctance to seek treatment, and the devastating costs of untreated mental health conditions on our society, families, and workplaces — and broken it down into what we know, what we can change, and how we can change it.

As those of you who have ever discussed the Foundation with me know well, I could go on and on about the problem’s scope, what we’re trying to do, and what obstacles remain, but I will try to be brief and to the point because each of your time is valuable. Basically, the demand for our services far exceeds the supply. We have one full-time Program Director, a Ph.D. who flies around the country, sleeping on friends’ couches and in airport motels to save money, while disseminating this critical information.

This system is unsustainable. What the Foundation needs, and what I am begging you for, is an increase in funds to be able to hire more people and meet the expanding, critical need. Additionally, we would like to take what we’ve learned and expand to other sectors at risk, but our resources do not allow that at this point.

I have set a personal fundraising goal of $10,000 to try to put the Foundation in the best position possible after I step down. If your budget does not allow for you to make a donation this year, please do two things for me: 1) consider volunteering your time either for the Dave Nee Foundation or another charity; and 2) talk openly and candidly with your friends and family about depression and help us reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Thank you,
Wynne Kelly
Board President
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Our Summer of Events

First up, NYC Trivia Night! This year’s Trivia Night was held at Butterfield 8 on July 29th. Led by the Trivia Masters at Big Trivia Thing, we hosted teams from Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Cullen and Dykman LLP, Baker and McKenzie, Gunderson Dettmer. Thanks everyone for attending!

Sephora SoHo chose the Dave Nee Foundation as its Charity of Choice through Sephora’s Values Inside/Out annual campaign.As part of this initiative, Sephora SoHo hosted Heroes Amongst Us, which recognizes that in each of us, is a hero. We have within us the ability to save others and ourselves—a powerful concept in a world where so many feel their voices and positive actions are silenced by fear and stigma.

We raffled off Sephora Gift Baskets; donated professional service’s make up stations, blowouts, facials, and self-care and beauty lessons from Sephora SoHo’s professional staff. We were also pleased to have the Gilt Group contribute a gift certificate for the raffle, and grateful to Rekorderlig hard cider and Polar Beverages for providing products, as well as to HighLife Productions is catering the affair.

Upcoming Events

Community Conversation on Mental Health

In partnership with NAMI of Queens/Nassau County, the Dave Nee Foundation is pleased to be co-hosting a Community Conversation on Mental Health. The conversation includes an interactive night of professional networking and round-table discussions with young professionals and leaders and in business, law, mental health, education, civic, and faith-based organizations.

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Updates from the Field: Uncommon Counsel and What we did this Summer

While the academic year may only have started a few weeks ago, Dave Nee Foundation staff and board have been working hard throughout the summer.

As we do each summer, we reviewed the feedback from surveys distributed at each of the 35 schools we visited during the academic year 2013-2014. After analyzing the data, we prepare individualized responses for each school.

Each school report include the data analysis of attendee responses for their school compared with the aggregate feedback of attendee responses from all schools. The summary also offered individual recommendations for each school based on the findings.

Additionally, we took the time to conduct our own self-assessment based on both the quantitative feedback as well as the attendee comments. Please contact Katherine Bender if you are interested in viewing a copy of our self assessment.

The Law School Student Well-Being Survey Project

We continue our work on the Survey of Law Student Well-Being Study. This study was conducted in the spring semester of 2014 and involved 15 law schools. We had over 3,000 respondents to the survey which inquired about law student alcohol and drug use, mental health, and help-seeking behaviors.

We are a partner in this study that was initiated by Jerry Organ from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota and David Jaffe of American University, Washington College of Law in DC; with grants from the ABA Foundation and the Dave Nee Foundation.

This past August, we presented some of the preliminary results at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Annual Conference held in Amelia Island. Moderated by Professor Katerina Lewinbuk, South Texas College of Law, discussants included: Professor Robert Bailey, University of Missouri School of Law; Dr. Katherine M. Bender, The Dave Nee Foundation; Professor David Jaffe, American University, Washington College of Law; Professor Jerry Organ, University of St. Thomas School of Law; Ms. Beth Padgett, South Carolina Bar Association; Ms. Judy Rushlow, Florida Lawyer Assistance; Professor Abby Saunders, Charleston School of Law; Professor Janet Stearns, University of Miami School of Law; Mr. Brett Twitty, Washington and Lee University School of Law. Click here to learn more about the SEALS conference 

A more thorough analysis of the results will be presented at the 2014 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs (COLAP) in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday October 9, 2014. Click here to learn more about the COLAP Conference.


Webinar on Attorney Well-Being

California is one of seven states that now mandates mental health Continuing Legal Education credits (CLEs) and the Dave Nee Foundation was happy to partner with the Continuing Education of the Bar, State Bar of California to offer a webinar on September 9th. This event was held in Oakland, CA and live web streamed for California attorneys. The program has been archived and if interested, you can find out about how to watch the program and gain CLEs by following the link here.


The Fall Semester of Uncommon Counsel

Our first traditional Uncommon Counsel program for the 2014-2015 school year was held at Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law on August 26th.

As part of Wellness Week at McKinney, Kate and the director of the Indiana Lawyers Assistance Program addressed a crowd of about 45 law school students, faculty, and staff in an Uncommon Counsel presentation. McKinney’s wellness week also included talks on financial wellness, a student activities fair, as well as a culinary demonstration, zumba, and yoga. Thank you McKinney for working so hard to present the first ever wellness week and for including us!

After McKinney led the kick off to our Uncommon Counsel Programs for the Academic year 2014-2015, we presented at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, where an event was offered for students and and one just for faculty. Also in Texas, we returned to Texas Tech University School of Law where our Uncommon Counsel program was mandatory for 1Ls as part of an ongoing 1L orientation.

We are thrilled that for the first time we partnered with Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and the Louisiana Lawyers Assistance Program to offer a program for all 1Ls and for students working in the law clinic. Another new school partnership this month was Harvard Law School (HLS).  Students, staff, and administrators received the Dave Nee Foundation with a warm welcome and a very receptive audience. We hope to continue to work with the student mental health association at HLS in future programming events. We were also pleased to participate on a panel at NYU School of Law, our first visit to NYU. Lastly, we returned to both Charleston School of Law and Washington and Lee College of Law.
We continue to be honored by law schools who invite us to return each year and to those who have heard about our program and want to partner with us. We are also grateful to attendees of our programs who through their feedback, remind us of why the work we do is so important.”I think all employees who work directly with law students should be invited. I’m glad I was invited to it. I never felt it was my place to help a student in this way, but I now have resources to help.””I appreciate this; I was concerned about my brother (another law student) so I am glad I have more tools.” (1L)

We have now placed our Uncommon Counsel calendar online for all to see!


Time to Schedule Uncommon Counsel for 2015 Spring Semester

If you are considering hosting an Uncommon Counsel presentation at your school this upcoming academic year or would like to learn more about our work, please contact Katherine Bender, PhD, Programming Director at KBender@daveneefoundation.org today.

Thank you, Uncommon Counsel Regional Sponsors

  • Mr. Davidson T. Gordon, Mr. & Mrs. Amit Shashank, and Mr. & Mrs. John W. Van Dyke sponsored Uncommon Counsel in the Midwest.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Owen Nee sponsored Uncommon Counsel on the West Coast.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Richard Vermillion sponsored Uncommon Counsel in Texas.
  • Elizabeth J. Kanter and Gerry, Rosie & Brian Reidy sponsored Uncommon Counsel in the South.

We deeply appreciate your commitment to our work. If you are interested in sponsoring an Uncommon Counsel presentation, please contact Rachael Barrett at Rbarrett@daveneefoundation.org.

Update: A Dave Nee Foundation Special Fundraiser and Half-MarathonerA Big Dave Nee Foundation “Thank You!” and Congratulations to Susan Rosenthal for exceeding her fundraising goal AND completing the Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon on September 21st!

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In Memory of

We want to take a moment to recognize the sad loss of two members of the New England Law community to death by suicide. While suicide and mental health concerns have received more attention since Robin Williams’ death, the loss of both Vermont Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna and University of New Hampshire Law School 2013 graduate Tyler Jaramillo speak to the continued need for our collective efforts to educate, eliminate stigma and create safe spaces. Our condolences to both law school communities, friends, and families.About the Dave Nee Foundation: The Dave Nee Foundation’s mission is to eliminate the stigma associated with depression and suicide by promoting and encouraging not only the diagnosis and treatment of depression among young adults, but also the education of young people, their families, and friends about the disease of depression.We believe that a principal reason for the high suicide rate in the United States is a glaring lack of sufficiently candid discussion about, and early treatment of, depression. We hope to spread the message that depression and thoughts of harming oneself are common and that treatment for depressed and suicidal thoughts must become socially acceptable. Visit LawLifeline for resources dedicated to law student wellness.