Rex Fuqua has supported Skyland Trail since the beginning, joining the advisory board in 1990 and the board of directors in 2001. He became chair of the program committee in 2012, and in 2011, committed to support the Dorothy C. Fuqua Lecture Series each year. Beyond Skyland Trail, he has helped develop and sustain mental health programs at Emory University and The Carter Center.
What led you to get involved with Skyland Trail initially?
After working on a doctorate in clinical psychology in the 1980s, I became friends with Dr. Bernard Holland. At that time, Dr. Holland was chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University and a key founding board member of the George West Mental Health Foundation. He shared his vision for Skyland Trail with me.
Through my clinical internships, I had worked with individuals with severe mental illness, and I got the picture of the need for a new kind of treatment program very quickly. Along with what I learned from Dr. Holland, I heard about this exciting new venture from the West family, who were friends of the family. I offered to serve those first efforts and have continued to do whatever I could to see Skyland Trail grow and thrive.
How do you think Skyland Trail changes lives?
Extraordinary community support has enabled Skyland Trail to positively impact thousands of lives. Mental illness affects not only individuals but also their families and friends. Improving the lives of so many individuals improves the life of our community.
What opportunities to change lives will the next 25 years bring?
Increasingly, mental disorders are being recognized as brain disorders. Over the next 25 years, I expect important advances in our understanding of the causes of mental illnesses, along with research showing what works best to treat them. Skyland Trail’s focus on the science and the art of treatment will keep it on the cutting edge of these new advances. Skyland Trail has never been stagnant. With community support, it can continue to grow to meet the changing needs of the people we serve.