'WOW' Summit at UCLA brings celebrities and researchers together for women's health

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of women took part in a conversation about health and wellness at UCLA as part of the first-ever "WOW" Summit.

"WOW" stands for Wonder of Women, and the purpose was to bring cultural and political leaders together with researchers and scientists for a daylong event.

Actress Candice Bergen played a role she knows well as she embodied her "Murphy Brown" character. Bergen and "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English were among the the speakers who took part in the conference focusing on women's whole health, including brain wellness.

It's a point brought home by producer and actress Lisa Kudrow, who was also one of the featured speakers. "The big takeaway is brain health is a part of your whole health. It's another system in your body that needs maintenance and treatment," Kudrow said.

Part of the conversation steered towards raising awareness about heart disease in women. But other big topics that were addressed were the rise in depression, anxiety and suicide. The Wonder of Women Summit co-chair CeCe Feiler said they hoped the conference also helped eradicate the stigma of mental health.

Feiler said, "What are you doing to make your brain wellness -- your mental health work better for you? It's not a scary thing. It's not a bad thing. Let's all be a part of the solution and not have it be stigmatized where people are hiding and coming out until they're really in risky places."

Former second lady Tipper Gore weighed in on the topic, sharing that her mother struggled with depression. The experience prompted Gore's longtime advocacy for mental health. "I'm really excited that the women's movement seems to be moving into the main stream and we need to pay attention to the young people that want to be involved," Gore said.

One of those young people is Poppy Jamie, who created a mental well-being start up app, called "Happy Not Perfect." She feels that because of the pressures of social media, today's millennials are the most stressed-out generation that's ever lived.

Jamie said, "We woke up in a world and are suddenly expected to lead these 24-7 digitally connected lives where we have 300 emails, having to respond to people at a moment's notice. Thousands of friends, but are they real friends? And there's a humongous pressure to be perfect or to project a perfect life and so it's no wonder that stress and anxiety is at an all-time high."
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