Sylvan Herman, a successful real estate developer living in Washington D.C., knows first-hand the heartbreak of losing a loved one to mental illness. His son John waged a war with schizophrenia most of his adult life, only to succumb to the disease at the age of 38. “As we struggled, I slowly came to see the reality that you don’t just “lick” schizophrenia,” says Herman. “So I decided to look for how we could help people right now, until the day there is a real cure.” Herman’s help was in the form a $1 million gift to Bethesda’s Suburban Hospital to fund the hospital’s new Johns E. Herman Emergency Behavioral Health Suite and the John E. Herman Outpatient Behavioral Health Suite, both named in honor of his late son.
Suburban Hospital president Jacky Schultz says Herman’s generous gift is greatly appreciated and urgently needed. “About 43.8 million adult Americans — 1 in 5 — experience some form of mental illness in the U.S. in a given years,” she notes. “And the statistics for children are equally alarming.Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Visionary benefactors, such Mr. Herman, offer more than much-needed dollars; they offer hope for the millions of people struggling with mental illness.”