Tonight, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will recognize actors Wayne Brady and Brittany Snow at the 2015 Voice Awards for their efforts to improve public awareness and understanding of behavioral health issues and the reality of recovery. Behavioral health community leaders and television and film screenwriters and producers will also be recognized for their efforts to promote the importance of behavioral health.
Hosted by actress Chandra Wilson of past Voice Award-winning ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Voice Awards will be held at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.
This is the 10th anniversary of the Voice Awards – program based on proven strategies to counter negative attitudes, beliefs, and behavior associated with mental and substance use disorders by recognizing accurate depictions of behavioral health conditions by entertainment media. The Voice Awards also connects the entertainment community with the people they are portraying: consumers and peer leaders. This year, the event will spotlight the importance of preventing suicide through meeting behavioral health care needs.
“Whether they are watching a movie or television program, or listening to a personal story of recovery first-hand, it is critical to reach our audiences with messages that reinforce behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “We applaud the Voice Award winners for their honesty, leadership, and courage in giving voice to millions of individuals living with mental and substance use disorders and their recovery journeys.”
Brady and Snow will each receive SAMHSA Special Recognition Awards. Snow co-founded the Love is Louder movement with The Jed Foundation to support anyone feeling mistreated, hopeless, or alone. She will be recognized for helping thousands of individuals, campuses, and communities use Love is Louder programs, events, and clubs to address important behavioral health issues. Brady will be honored for his mental health advocacy and involvement with the #StrongerThanStigma PSA campaign that encourages men to talk about their mental health.
Major Sam Cochran (retired) of the Memphis Police will also be honored with a SAMHSA Special Recognition Award for his work in developing the Crisis Intervention Team in Memphis, Tennessee. This unit has become a model for improving the way law enforcement officials respond to people experiencing mental health crises and allows for safer, more appropriate responses.
In addition, the following awards will be presented to an extraordinary group of community leaders and entertainment productions:
Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplary leadership in suicide prevention research and advocacy at the community, state, and national levels.
- DeQuincy Lezine, Ph.D., Fresno, California
Consumer/Peer Leadership Awards for sharing stories of recovery and working to improve public acceptance of people living with behavioral health issues.
- Veronica Alston, Lusby, Maryland
- Neil Campbell, M.S., Atlanta, Georgia
- Bob Carolla, J.D., Arlington, Virginia
- Dese’Rae L. Stage, Brooklyn, New York
- Cheryl Sharp, M.S.W., ALWF, Annapolis, Maryland
Young Adult Leadership Award for teaching, mentoring, and encouraging young people across the nation faced with behavioral health challenges.
- Hayley Winterberg, Glendale, Arizona
- “Elementary” (CBS—Series Award) for addressing substance use disorders and addiction, peer support, and the journey of recovery.
- “Empire” (FOX) for a storyline addressing bipolar disorder, the impact of trauma and grief, and suicide.
- “Madam Secretary” (CBS) for a storyline addressing mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- A Long Way Down for addressing mental health issues, suicide, and peer support.
- Cake for addressing suicide and mental and substance use disorders.
- Infinitely Polar Bear for addressing mental health issues and bipolar disorder.
- To Write Love on Her Arms for addressing mental and substance use disorders, peer support, and the journey of recovery.
- Welcome to Me for addressing mental health issues and borderline personality disorder.
- Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw for addressing mental health issues, depression, suicide, and the journey of recovery.
- That Which I Love Destroys Me for addressing mental and substance use disorders, PTSD, trauma, and the journey of recovery for returning military service members.
Entertainment Industry Leadership Award
- Pixar for addressing the importance of children’s mental health and emotional well-being in its latest film, Inside Out.
The Voice Awards program is a collaborative effort among behavioral health and entertainment industry organizations. For a complete list of the 36 program partner organizations involved in this year’s effort, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/voice-awards/program-partners.
The 2015 Voice Awards event will be streamed live on the Voice Awards’ web page on Wednesday, August 12, beginning at 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT. To learn more about the Voice Awards program and view the live webcast, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/voice-awards.
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