Inaugural Shatter the Stigma event raises money to help South Floridians affected by Mental Illness

Funds to support outreach and patient services from psychiatrists at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System

MIAMI – October 22, 2015 – More than 150 community leaders attended Shatter the Stigma, an inaugural mental health awareness fundraiser addressing the stigma surrounding mental illness and the lack of resources available for treatment in South Florida. The event, which raised money to help support outreach and patient services provided by psychiatrists and other mental health experts at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, took place Thursday, October 8, at de la Cruz Collection in Miami’s Design District. Shatter the Stigma featured a performance by comedian, Pulitzer Prize winner and author Dave Barry as well as a silent auction, cocktail reception and dinner.

The event was hosted by the de la Cruz family and underwritten by Harley and Sherry Tropin. During the event, Tropin, president of Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton and honorary chair of the event, spoke about the need to remove the stigma to make it easier for people to seek help, and to obtain funding for mental health research.

“Besides raising money, Shatter the Stigma helped bring visibility to how debilitating both mental disorders, and the associated stigma, can be to those affected,” Tropin said. “Our Advisory Board is committed to helping the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine expand its services and its research ability.”

Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, said “I am heartened and encouraged by the tremendous outpouring of support from the Miami community for our efforts to finally put an end to the stigma associated with mental illnesses, now clearly shown to be diseases of the brain.”

Florida is ranked last in the country in mental health funding, with the state spending on average $49 per person, versus the national average of $122. South Florida in particular lacks resources, services and treatment options to assist individuals suffering from mental illness, with Miami leading the nation for serious mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Miami-Dade has the largest percentage of people with serious mental illnesses of any urban community in the U.S., about 9.1 percent of the population – roughly more than 200,000 people.

In addition to Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, event sponsors included: the Jodie and Phil Bakes family; Cisneros Corporation; Demetree Global; the Havenick Family; Deborah and Bruce Kaye; Wyatt Koch; Gabrielle Anwar Malnik and Shareef Malnik; Jackie Soffer Robins and Craig Robins; Ocariz, Garrastacho, Hevia LLLP; Grisell and Hiram Ocariz; Dr. David and Susan Racher; the Bitterman/Shepard family; Leslie and Marty Steinberg; Mary Feldman and Mark Schnapp; Marty Taplin; and Betsy and Mark West.

About Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton

Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton is a complex commercial litigation firm founded in 1983 that focuses its practice on bet-the-company commercial cases, bankruptcy matters and class actions. For more information, visit