The University of Colorado Depression Center was established in 2008 through the generous support of George Wiegers of Vail, Colorado. Mr. Wieger's desire to tackle mood disorders in a novel, comprehensive way is fueled by his experience of growing up with a mother who suffered from bipolar disorder.
After reading an Op/Ed piece in The New York Times by Andrew Solomon calling for an aggressive national effort to treat mood disorders, Mr. Wiegers met with national experts including Dr. Marshall Thomas. Their collaboration resulted in a donation to the University of Colorado School of Medicine to establish the Depression Center.
The Depression Center was created specifically with the goal to better understand, identify and treat people with depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders. Mr. Wiegers also funded the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), solidifying his stature as a pioneer in mental health care.
In 2015, the Depression Center was renamed the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center in honor of a $10 million donation from the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation. These generous gifts have created the most comprehensive approach in the Rocky Mountain region to care for people with mood disorders.
The Johnson Depression Center is a member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a select group of the country’s leading depression and academic medical centers of mood disorders that includes Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.
Established by a gift from George Wiegers, the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) is modeled after the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the successful academic and scientific partnerships that began in the 1970s and led to a more rapid development of new treatments and helped to de-stigmatize cancer.
Mr. Wiegers’ vision was to bring the top minds in mood disorder care, prevention and research to work together to more aggressively advance the development of new ways to identify and treat depression and bipolar disorder and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Now, the NNDC is a non-profit system of 26 leading clinical and academic Centers of Excellence in the U.S., working to transform the field of depressive illness and related mood disorders.
The NNDC is a key component to effecting a true transformation of care and someday a cure for people suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.