John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation to support $1.2M Gold Standard Study with the University of California, San Francisco

Timonium, Md (April 2, 2019) –  The John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation announced today the launch of the  $1.2 million Gold Standard Study on mental health with the University of California, San Francisco. 

The study will be lead by University of California, San Francisco Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry and Wendy Berry Mendes, PhD, professor of psychiatry both experts in stress, stress resilience, and aging.  The study will be the first to examine the impact of short-term positive stress interventions on mood and physiological health.

“The most commonly used treatments for depression are pharmaceuticals,” said Epel. “But now it’s clear that they don’t work for the vast majority of people with depression.  And their side effects can be serious.  This underscores the need for both prevention and biobehavioral treatments.”

This study will examine how potent doses of holistic treatments—such as high intensity interval training exercise, mindfulness meditation, and different breathing techniques (both activating and relaxing) impact mood, and health, and their exact mechanisms of action.  It will examine, for example, unique impact on psychological stress responses and how well our body regulates and maintains balance in the autonomic nervous system, immune system, and metabolism.

“We are very excited to sponsor this study in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco”, says Victor Brick, the founder of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation. “We want to change the way people treat mental health and we think that evidence-based research is the best way to do that.  Depression is a very common condition and accompanies many other mental disorders as well as physical diseases. We hope this study will show how positive stress can reduce depressive symptoms and improve well being.”

The research program will first enroll healthy women who are experiencing high levels of psychological stress to help test out the effects of the interventions and will subsequently test refined and optimized interventions on people with a high level of depressive symptoms.  For more information about the study, such as enrollment criteria, see the study website:


About the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation

The John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by Victor and Lynne Brick in memory of Victor’s oldest brother, John, who suffered from schizophrenia and died from complications from the disease. In all the years of John’s treatment for his illness, he was never put on a well-rounded, integrated program that combined exercise and a healthy lifestyle with traditional medical treatment. Victor and Lynne believe that exercise and a healthy lifestyle are an important part of maintaining good mental health. The challenge is determining how.

The mission of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation is to fund, and promote evidence-based research on how holistic treatments – such as exercise, nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, and mind-body practices – benefit mental health. For more information, visit

About University of California, San Francisco

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit