Rancho Santa Fe residents to be recognized for support of International Bipolar Foundation


International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) will host “Behind the Mask: Carnevale di Venezia,” a gala benefit, auction and awards dinner to support the organization’s programs designed to educate, erase stigma, provide support and fund research for those living with bipolar disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population.

The unique Venetian themed event will be held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on Saturday, May 7, from 6- 11 p.m. and will feature appearances by 2016 IBPF award winners including Paul Dalio, the producer of the currently released Spike Lee film, Touched With Fire, starring Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby and Christine Lahti.

Dalio, who himself lives with bipolar disorder, will be at the event to accept the award. The IMAGINE award is given to individuals who have bipolar disorder and can see beyond the illness to imagine a future free of barriers, stigma and discrimination. The recipient empowers others by sharing their story, instilling hope and inspiration.

The producer recently traveled with IBPF to speak at a March 23 pre-World Bipolar Day press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. where he also assisted in the acceptance of a Congressional Resolution, acknowledging the special day co-founded by IBPF. World Bipolar Day is held each year on March 30, the birth date of the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh who is widely known as a historic figure identified as living with bipolar disorder.

A HOPE Award will also be given to an individual or organization whose public efforts improve care, support and access to mental health treatment and/or champions to erase the stigma of mental illness and instill hope in families, communities and the nation.

In addition, Honorary Gala Chairs Roy and Joanie Polatchek of Rancho Santa Fe will be recognized for their work and support at IBPF by founder and Chairman Muffy Walker, of Zurich, Switzerland.“We are looking forward to a life changing evening of discovery, relationship building and fun entertainment at the Behind the Mask Gala,” said Lori Butler, executive director and mental health advocate. Butler refers to the costumed period actors who will entertain and educate during the gala.

“When we take off our own masks and let others know that our families and loved ones are dealing with a serious mental health issue we give hope to others in the community,” she added. “They know that they are not alone and are able to reach out for help and understanding.”

A pre-gala mask making party will take place at IBPF’s new office on May 4 from 1-3 p.m. at 8755 Aero Drive #310, San Diego, CA, 92123. Guest will design and make their own Venetian- style masks to wear at the gala with materials and supplies from Venice, Italy.

Tickets for the event are available by contacting Debbie Brown at or 858-598- 5967. For more information, please visit