This Close to Happy

Daphne Merkin, author of This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, will be the featured guest speaker at a “Readings on Mental Health” event on Sunday, November 19 sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County and hosted by Buffalo Street Books.

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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John Kaag called Merkin’s 2017 memoir “one of the most accurate, and therefore most harrowing, accounts of depression to be written in the last century… Ms. Merkin speaks candidly and beautifully about aspects of the human condition that usually remain pointedly silent.”

Andrew Solomon, reviewing This Close to Happy for the New York Times, wrote: “It is standard fare to say that books on depression are brave, but this one actually is. For all its highly personal focus, it is an important addition to the literature of mental illness.”

Merkin is also the author of Enchantment, Dreaming of Hitler and The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontës, and the Importance of Handbags. A former staff writer at the New Yorker, she has also written for the New York Times, Elle, Bookforum, Departures, Travel + Leisure, W, Vogue, Tablet Magazine, and other publications. She has taught writing at the 92nd Street Y, Marymount College, and Hunter College.

Merkin’s appearance is part of “Readings on Mental Health,” a series featuring authors of books on mental health topics made possible by a grant from The Sophie Fund.

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Cornell’s Walk for Suicide Prevention

Cornell University’s Phi Sigma Pi (PSP) national honor fraternity sponsored a suicide prevention walk on April 28 to benefit The Sophie Fund of Ithaca and the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“Phi Sigma Pi organized this walk because we wanted to increase campus conversation about mental health,” said PSP brother Elizabeth Cavic (’18), who studies Human Development in the College of Human Ecology. “We believe that people not engaging in these critical conversations about mental health perpetuates the stigma surrounding poor mental health, which contributes to further stigmatization.”

Scott MacLeod, a donor advisor of The Sophie Fund, thanked Cavic, her fellow PSP brothers, and all those who participated in the walk. “We’ve had the honor of working with Phi Sigma Pi on other mental health projects, and are very grateful for the support it gives to mental health awareness and suicide prevention efforts,” he said.

MacLeod and his wife Susan Hack established The Sophie Fund in 2016 to support mental health initiatives aiding young people in the Ithaca area. The fund is in memory of their daughter, Sophie Hack MacLeod (’14), who died by suicide in Ithaca in March 2016.

PSP is a co-educational fraternity open to undergraduate students that embraces the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and fellowship. The PSP Beta Nu Chapter at Cornell was founded in 1994 and has about 80 active members in a given semester.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

When Someone You Know Has Depression

Dr. Susan J. Noonan, author of When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to Say and Things to Do, will be the featured guest speaker at a “Readings on Mental Health” event on April 30 sponsored by the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County and hosted by Buffalo Street Books.

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Noonan’s latest book is a concise and practical guide to caring for someone who has depression or bipolar disorder, offering specific suggestions for what to say or do to cope with impaired thinking and fluctuating moods. The book contains chapters on mood disorders, signs of depression, support and communication strategies, finding professional help, and caring for caregivers.

When Someone You Know Has Depression, a companion volume to Noonan’s 2013 book Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better, draws on evidence-based medical information as well as her own first-hand experience of living with a mood disorder. As a physician she has treated, supported, and educated those living with and those caring for a person who has a mood disorder. Noonan is a Certified Peer Specialist at McLean Hospital and a consultant to Massachusetts General Hospital and CliGnosis.

Noonan’s appearance launches “Readings on Mental Health,” a 2017 series featuring authors of books on mental health topics made possible by a grant from The Sophie Fund.

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The Sophie Fund Author Series

The Sophie Fund announced on Saturday that it has awarded a $1,500 grant to the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County for the creation of a series of events featuring authors of books on mental health topics. The events will be hosted by Buffalo Street Books.

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Stay tuned for announcements about the series from the Mental Health Association and Buffalo Street Books.

Susan Hack, a donor advisor of The Sophie Fund, commented: “We’re thrilled and grateful to the Mental Health Association and Buffalo Street Books for developing this book series, which we are sure will stimulate important discussions about the many mental health issues affecting the greater Ithaca community. The Sophie Fund is honored to work with these committed partners.”

2016 Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest Winners

The 1st Annual Ithaca Cupcake Baking Contest was held on Saturday October 15, 2016 in the Bernie Milton Pavilion of the Ithaca Commons. The Sophie Fund sincerely thanks the 57 contestants for their fabulous entries and congratulates this year’s winners!

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Monica Lee Cotto receives the Grand Prize–a $250 Greenstar Natural Foods Market certificate–from GreenStar’s Debbie Lazinsky.

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Monica Lee Cotto’s winning cupcake: pumpkin cheesecake in a chocolate cage topped with a confectionery yellow and coral rose and a butterfly crisp.

1st Prize:

Monica Lee Cotto

2nd Prize:

Becca Johnson

3rd Prize:

Aušra Milano

Honorable Mention:

Zoë Dubrow

Stephanie Harris

Natalie McCaskill-Myers

Holly Lopez

Audrey and Isaac Greene

Best Youth Award:

Natalie McCaskill-Myers

Healthiest Award:

Reba McCutcheon

Best Gluten Free Award:

Tamarynde Cacciotti

Top Vegan Award:

Patti Meyers

Best Sprinkles Award:

Amber Pierson

Best Cupcake-Sundae Award:

Rebekah Long

Best Filling Award:

Lena Bartell

Creamiest Filling Award:

Veronica VanCleave-Seeley

Best Surprise Inside Award:

Robyn Schmitt

The Cavity Award:

Claire Litwin

Richest Icing Award:

Emily Dvorak

Best Frosting Award:

Brook Smith

Most “Fall” Award:

Katherine Estaque

Nuttiest Award:

Sadie Hays

Most Beautiful Butterfly Decoration Award:

Alexa Martin

Best Embellishment Award:

Lisa Kellmurray

Berriest Frosting Award:

John Gunn

Berry Berry Good Award:

Gabriella Thurmond

Most Soothing Award:

Linda Linton VanNederynen

Most Intricate Topping Award:

Summer Saraf