John W. Brick's Story

"Can you see the pride, hope and expectations on my parents' faces for the future of their first-born son. Can you imagine the disappointment and heartbreak they experienced over the years? He was the most talented of the lot. And second-best looking, after me, of course."

- C. Victor Brick

about

John was no different from any other child: happy, healthy, and the apple of his parents’ eyes. Even up to middle school he excelled in athletics and his studies and showed no signs of the struggles he would soon face. He was normal. The disease started to take hold in his early teenage years. At first, the changes were easily dismissible because they were so subtle and difficult to differentiate from typical teenage behavior. John started to be not so normal; he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

During his twenties and thirties, John suffered through endless cycles of finding new treatment, withdrawing prematurely from these treatments, and falling back into sickness. He became a victim of the classic yet destructive belief of being “cured” when finding medication that worked. John would disappear only to be found with no money, disoriented and lost. Victor, John’s brother, once found him sitting on the streets of Washington D.C. wearing only a pair of jeans. His schizophrenia spread, slowly asphyxiating the life out of him. John’s mind and body deteriorated and as living became more and more painful, whatever courage he had left also perished.

John believed his disease was punishment for something he had done or something he did not even know he had done. As a way to atone for his sins, his sickness convinced him to stop using modern appliances. The TV went first, radio, phone, then the refrigerator, until he died on the floor from heat stroke. The temperature in his trailer was over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, but John could not turn on the air conditioner. He was only 62 years old.

So why the foundation? John received treatment from some of the best institutions in the nation but never once was diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle included in his treatment. The John W. Brick foundation firmly believes that these things would not replace drug therapy but enhance and help mental health and hygiene. This foundation wants to use the idea of diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle to help others that suffer from all forms of mental illness.

The John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation is dedicated to the memory of John W. Brick, who succumbed to complications of schizophrenia. Our mission is to advance learning about how exercise, diet, relationships, and health care all work together to benefit mental health.

Sincerely,
V. Brick