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Community News
Media, Community Leaders Honored for Mental Illness Depictions
Psychiatric News
Volume 45 Number 1 page 4-20

Writers and producers from "The Soloist," "Grey's Anatomy," "United States of Tara," "90210," and others were honored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for increasing awareness of mental health issues at the 2009 Voice Awards last October. The event was hosted at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles by Richard Dreyfuss, an Academy-Award winner who has spoken about his experiences with bipolar disorder.

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Academy Award—winning actor Richard Dreyfuss joins the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration leadership at the 2009 Voice Awards honoring seven mental health consumer leaders last October at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. From left are Eric Arauz, Ann Kirkwood, T.J. Curtis, Dreyfuss, Mark Davis, Kevin Hines, Mary Ellen Copeland, Marian Bacon, Kathryn Power, and U.S. Public Health Service Rear Adm. Eric Broderick.

Credit: SAMHSA/Jon Dider photography

The annual Voice Awards recognizes writers and producers who destigmatize mental illness by incorporating dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of people with mental health problems in television and film productions.

The Voice Awards are supported by a number of organizations, including the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF), which each year provides a grant to support the award ceremony. According to foundation director Paul Burke, "The foundation is a proud sponsor and has been for a number of years."

Here are the 2009 Voice Awards entertainment winners:

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  • "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC) for the episode "Sweet Surrender," addressing posttraumatic stress disorder.

  • "United States of Tara" (Showtime) for the episode "Inspiration," addressing dissociative identity disorder.

  • "90210" (CW) for the episodes "Off the Rails" and "Okaeri, Donna!" addressing bipolar disorder.

  • "Monk" (USA) for the episode "Mr. Monk's 100th Case," addressing obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC) for the episode "Trials," addressing posttraumatic stress disorder.

  • "In Treatment" (HBO) for the episode "Gina," addressing depression.

  • "Front of the Class," (Hallmark), a made-for-television movie, addressing Tourette's syndrome.

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  • "The Soloist" for addressing schizophrenia.

  • "Lars and the Real Girl" for addressing delusional disorder.

  • "Michael Clayton" for addressing bipolar disorder.

  • "Helen" for addressing depression.

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  • "Autism: The Musical" for addressing autism.

  • "In a Dream" for addressing delusional disorder.

  • MTV Network's "True Life: I Have Schizophrenia" for addressing schizophrenia.

  • A number of individuals were also recognized at the ceremony.

    A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mary Ellen Copeland of West Dummerston, Vt., for her leadership and contributions to the mental health recovery movement.

    Consumer Leadership Awards were presented to five mental health advocates and community leaders—Eric Arauz, North Brunswick, N.J.; Marian Bacon, Memphis, Tenn.; Mark Davis, Philadelphia; John Kevin Hines, San Francisco; and Ann Kirkwood, Boise, Idaho. The Young Adult Leadership Award was given to Tyrus "T.J." Curtis of Brooklyn, N.Y. These individuals were honored for their work to promote community acceptance and support to facilitate recovery of people with mental health issues.

    Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon and his wife, Sharon—whose 21-year-old son, Garrett, died by suicide—received the SAMHSA Spotlight Award for heightening awareness about suicide prevention.

    In addition, SAMHSA honored five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close with a Special Recognition Award for her work to educate the public about the effect of stigma on those with mental illness and their families.

    Grey New York received a SAMHSA Special Recognition Award. This advertising agency developed a public service campaign in partnership with the Ad Council aimed at decreasing negative attitudes about mental illness and encouraging young adults to support friends who are living with mental health issues.

    The Voice Awards are part of the Campaign for Mental Health Recovery, a multiyear public-service advertising program of SAMHSA and the Ad Council.

    More information about the Voice Awards is posted at <whatadifference.samhsa.gov/voiceawards/>.blacksquare

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    Academy Award—winning actor Richard Dreyfuss joins the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration leadership at the 2009 Voice Awards honoring seven mental health consumer leaders last October at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. From left are Eric Arauz, Ann Kirkwood, T.J. Curtis, Dreyfuss, Mark Davis, Kevin Hines, Mary Ellen Copeland, Marian Bacon, Kathryn Power, and U.S. Public Health Service Rear Adm. Eric Broderick.

    Credit: SAMHSA/Jon Dider photography

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