By Michael Kahn, Founder and Chair of The Cary Council

I’d like to offer a big thank you to everyone who made The Cary Council’s “Learning From Leaders” event such a success. For personal reasons, I was deeply impacted by the evening’s topic, “Changing the Game In Care and Treatment of the Brain.”

My mother, Beth Kahn, fought a valiant battle with brain cancer. She wisely reflected “we do not always get to choose in life”. A diagnosis would not define her. When it comes to brain disease – cancer, depression, ALS, Alzheimer’s – we do not have the choice of when or how a diagnosis may unexpectedly change our respective lives. My mom was so thankful for the remarkable and compassionate care she received at UT Southwestern. With that said, all of us in The Cary Council are grateful to learn about the innovative solutions for brain care and treatment taking place right here in Dallas.

I was also fascinated to learn that 76 percent of all Texans have a family member or close friend that has struggled with a mental health issue. And I was saddened to find out that 2 out of 3 people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment. I’d especially like to thank Hersh Foundation President Julie Hersh for telling her own powerful story of recovery from her excellent book Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope. She truly provided insight, hope and inspiration to everyone who attended.

Another highlight of the evening was Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, Director of UT Southwestern’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care, who spoke passionately about the challenges and possible solutions in treating mental illness. As Dr. Trivedi pointed out, mental health is a community issue: All of us need to be engaged and supportive.

Lastly, I’d like to thank to Kathleen Gibson and Southwestern Medical Foundation for continuing to engage the community about the need to improve research, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in Dallas and across our nation for years to come.

Michael Kahn was profiled in The Dallas Morning News Arts & Life "Inspiring People" where he shared his inspiration as founder of The Cary Council.