The owners of the Baltimore-area Brick Bodies health club chain have announced the launch of a new foundation to support research and education in mental health.
Victor and Lynne Brick said in a press release Wednesday that they were setting up the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation as a 501c3 charity to honor Victor’s brother John, who had schizophrenia and eventually succumbed to complications from the disease.
The release said the foundation was dedicated to advancing research towards a comprehensive scientific understanding of relationships between exercise and mental health.
“We understand mental health and illness as a complex continuum, with happiness at one side, the mildest forms of anxiety and depression in the middle, and severe disorders, psychosis, dementia, and self-harm and suicide at the other,” Victor Brick said in a statement.
“If you look at it in these terms, almost every one of us has struggled with mental health problems at some time in our lives. In more than 50 years of treatment, never once did my brother John receive a structured exercise program as part of his overall treatment.”
Brick Bodies said it has appointed Dr. Allen Tien to head the foundation. Tien worked for a decade at Johns Hopkins as a researcher in public mental health epidemiology, prevention and services, and clinical neuroscience, and he remains an adjunct associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Division of Health Science Informatics.
Tien also founded Medical Decision Logic, Inc. (“mdlogix”), a medical software company.
“The development of the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation will be incremental and strategic, fostering rapid cycles of data collection, information analysis, and the generation of new scientific knowledge,” Tien said.
“The goal is to deliver knowledge that is useful to individuals and families to make better decisions about activities that benefit their mental health. Making knowledge available and continuing to study its results will in turn serve as foundational building blocks for a dynamic research and education relational network that seeks to optimally relate healthy physical activities with mental well-being. We look forward to working with other educational nonprofits and corporations in these efforts.”
The Bricks announced an event Nov. 7 to raise money for the foundation: a bull and oyster roast at the Timonium Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. The event will coincide with the company’s 30th anniversary celebration.