TIMONIUM, MD—January 7, 2021—Global Wellness Summit (GWS)—the foremost gathering of international leaders in the multitrillion-dollar global wellness economy—presented Lynne and Victor Brick with The Debra Simon Award for Leader in Furthering Mental Health Wellness.

The Bricks were recognized for creating the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, Inc., honoring Victor’s brother John, who suffered from schizophrenia and died of complications from the disease. The Foundation’s purpose is to have holistic approaches—such as exercise, nutrition, and mind-body practices—integrated into the mental wellness delivery system.

After receiving a standing ovation from delegates at the 14th annual GWS, Victor Brick said, “My brother's passing was tragic at the time (and) I never cried so hard in my life. But…if his life is an agent for change, then it was a successful life. And I have a feeling that this is how we're going to look at the pandemic and the coronavirus, as an agent for change.”

The Bricks—physical health enthusiasts who own and operate 74 Planet Fitness health clubs with over 500,000 members in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Florida, Washington, and Australia—firmly believe that changes to John’s physical health could have greatly improved his mental health. They now self-fund all administrative expenses for the foundation, so that every dollar raised goes toward research and programs to change the way the world treats mental health.

About the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation recently launched a gold standard, $1.2 million dollar study with leading researcher, Elissa Epel, Ph.D., at the University of California San Francisco on how different forms of positive stress, such as the Wim Hof Method of cold training and deep breathing/breath holding, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Meditation affect depression.

While committed to making a global impact on scientific research in the field of mental health, the Foundation also brings the opportunity to engage in exercise and wellness activities into mental health care facilities and community organizations. Examples include:

  • Exercise Room at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Pediatric Psychiatry Inpatient Ward. In September 2017, the Foundation donated exercise equipment and continues to provide support. It has been confirmed by that the use of the ward’s isolation rooms has diminished as the children are choosing to work off their anxiety and stress in the exercise room. They also are returning home with exercise as part of their regular regimen to balance their mental illness.
  • John W. Brick Memorial Fitness Center at Arundel Lodge Outpatient Mental Health Clinic. In 2019, the Foundation donated professional-level exercise equipment and the renovation of two spaces—one room with treadmills, stationary bicycles, free weights, and a universal fitness machine, plus an adjacent room that will be used for aerobic exercise, light strength and conditioning, yoga, meditation, and nutrition and wellness classes.
  • Support for Catch-A-Lift. In 2019, the Foundation donated $10,000 to the Catch-A-Lift organization based in Baltimore that has helped thousands of Post-9/11 combat wounded veterans regain their mental and physical health through gym memberships, in-home gym equipment, personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and a peer support network.
  • Support for Mental Wellness during COVID-19. In 2020, the Foundation hosted the Never Alone Summit in collaboration with Deepak Chopra's #NeverAlone initiative for suicide prevention. Over 100 hours of talks by luminaries including Arianna Huffington, Patrick Kennedy, Ray Lewis, Hayden Hurst, Kenneth Cole, Russell Brand, Don Miguel Ruiz, Jeezy, and many others reached over 140,000 people in over 80 countries. The Foundation also hosted Move Your Mental Health, including 10-days of 10-minute exercise sessions. Participants reported statistically significant increases in energy, mood, and well-being.

The Foundation also is conducting a large-scale review of the existing research on exercise, nutrition and mind-body approaches to mental health care. Additionally, it has formed a coalition of foundations and organizations focused on expanding mental health care, and has partnered with the Global Wellness Initiative in their large-scale report on the Mental Wellness Industry around the world.

For more information, visit the Foundation website at www.johnwbrickfoundation.org or on social media—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Global Wellness Summit

The Global Wellness Summit is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy, and Singapore. The 14th annual Summit took place at The Breakers Palm Beach, FL, from November 8–11, 2020. The 2021 GWS will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 15–20.

Media Contact:

Caryn Sagal