Mission & History

Mission and History

LEAD Pittsburgh’s Mission

Brain shutterstock_106662809LEAD Pittsburgh (Leading Education & Awareness for Depression) is a unique community initiative advocating for the recognition and acceptance of depression as a treatable medical condition and for the need to eliminate barriers to treatment. LEAD Pittsburgh addresses issues surrounding depression in a collaborative manner with the institutions in the community where change can be effected. The intent is to draw attention to the magnitude of the problems associated with untreated depression and to help identify each institution’s role in overcoming the barriers that exist.

LEAD Pittsburgh’s History

14_11_19_Sheila_Fine11409Sheila Fine is the principal founder of LEAD Pittsburgh. Her interest in depression piqued after reading this article in the Wall Street Journal,Grim Reminder On Mental Illness; Detroit Executive’s Bouts With Depression.

The article talks about the suicide of a successful, well-connected businessman. Sheila wanted answers as to why this tragedy could not have been prevented, and sought knowledge about the pervasiveness of depression. She quickly learned that depression touches all individuals in all aspects of society. Thus, LEAD evolved as a response to Sheila’s exploration of depression: prevention, causes, and treatments. Her search for answers and the work of the LEAD Pittsburgh team amply illustrate how progress toward the goal of eliminating the stigma attached to depression and removing barriers to quality treatment requires community wide involvement and fundamental systemic changes.

In April 2003, LEAD became a nonprofit organization.  Early efforts focused on the illness of depression and its disabling impact on individuals, families, friends and colleagues.

In 2009, LEAD identified a report, “Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People” complied by the Research Council of the Institute of Medicine. The report recommended that programs which focused on teaching resiliency skills to the 18 – 25 year old age group could be protective against the development of anxiety and depression.

Development of SCoRE

Using this report as the basis for future planning, LEAD sought out national experts in the field of resilience education. LEAD hosted a spring and fall symposium in 2010, and invited speakers to present to an audience from the college and university community in the region. Armed with the knowledge and understanding that resilience skills can be taught, the educational community became interested in a course to teach resilience skills to college freshmen. Responding to the need, LEAD committed to finding the resources to develop such a curriculum on behalf of the participating colleges/universities in the region.

SCoRE® (Student Curriculum on Resilience Education) was created through a partnership with 3C Institute. The initial product was released in May, 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA.