Philanthropist Audrey Gruss Talks To Us About Her Foundation, New Fragrance Line And More
With scents come memories. After all, research shows the olfactory function is closely linked with memory, even more so than other senses.
For Audrey Gruss, the smell of white flowers reminds her of her mother, Hope, who loved white flowers and surrounded herself with them. Hope also struggled with depression for decades.
Audrey Gruss is the president of The Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation, which she established 30 years ago with her husband Martin to support charitable activities in the cultural arts, education and medical research.
Gruss recently released a new fragrance line called Hope-The Uplifting Fragrance, which is being sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. The fragrance line gives back 100 percent of net profits to fight depression through Hope for Depression Research Foundation. We sat down with Gruss to discuss the fragrance line, depression research and her love of Palm Beach.
How would you describe the scent of Hope-The Uplifting Fragrance?
Hope is a magnificent fusion of the most aromatic white flowers, including lily of the valley, jasmine, gardenia and tuberose— the most pure and delicate essences that delight our senses.
Hope Fragrance was inspired by my mother Hope who always loved the aromas of white flowers. She inspired the fragrance and the core essences of the fragrance. What I added was a verdant green aroma, giving it a unique characteristic that makes it so much more than just a floral fragrance.
What is your advice to those who may have family members or friends struggling with depression? How can they best help their loved ones?
Depression is now the number one reason in the world for disability. It is so prevalent globally and yet there is such a need to find out more information about it. Here are the 10 major symptoms of depression:
- Sad or crying unexpectedly
- Anxiety or irritability
- Loss of interest, no sense of pleasure
- Low energy, fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hopeless or helpless, guilty feelings
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Loss of appetite or weight gain
- Aches or pains with no clear physical cause
- Thoughts of suicide
If someone thinks they recognize any of these symptoms in friends or family, they should offer to take them to a professional to be evaluated. Suggest that you accompany them to a family physician as a first approach. A general internist or family doctor can then recommend a mental health professional if needed.
Tell us about Hope for Depression Research Foundation and how our readers can get involved with the charity.
Depression is misunderstood, under researched and under financed. The causes of depression are still unknown, and it is absolutely essential to understand the basic biological mechanics of depression. Once we know the causes of depression, we can start to find new medications and treatments to deal with it.
The shocking reality is that there has been no new category of antidepressant since Prozac was introduced over 32 years ago. Research studies show that only 50 percent of those with depression respond to the existing antidepressants on the market.
Hope for Depression Research Foundation has an excellent and informative website (hopefordepression.org) where readers can find valuable information. Our depression task force of leading neuroscientists is funded solely by outside contributions, and 100 percent of any donation received goes directly to depression research. The most important thing a reader can do is support this valuable research, because every penny can make a difference in finding the answers to depression.
We also hold our major fundraising event in early November in New York City at The Plaza Hotel. We use volunteers at this event in many ways. If anyone wants to participate and assist at this event or in the months leading up to it, we welcome all inquiries of volunteer time.
Do you live in Palm Beach or visit often?
I am a Florida resident and spend a majority of my time in Palm Beach. Since the main offices of Hope for Depression Research Foundation are in New York City, I spend the majority of my week in New York and spend the weekends and holidays in Palm Beach. I love everything about New York and everything about Palm Beach, and take advantage of both worlds.
Photos courtesy of Capehart Photography
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