I’m excited to be attending and reporting from the 5th anniversary of the Voice Awards tomorrow evening in Hollywood. This annual award program sponsored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) honors screenwriters, producers, and behavioral health advocates raising awareness and understanding of mental and behavioral health problems
The 2010 Voice Awards — co-hosted by Emmy Award winner Hector Elizondo and Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr. — will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif. The annual event brings together representatives from the entertainment industry and the behavioral health community for an evening of awareness raising about the contributions people living with mental health and substance use problems make to their communities.
The Voice Awards honor writers and producers who have given a voice to people with behavioral health conditions by incorporating dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of these individuals into film and television productions.
This year the Voice Awards will honor former first lady and champion for mental health awareness Rosalynn Carter. We’ve talked previously about the great work the Carter Center and Rosalynn Carter have done for mental health in America. So it’s great to see her honored for this work by SAMHSA at this year’s Voice Awards.
Carter’s 40-year campaign to improve the mental health system and educate the public about the impact of behavioral health on American families — especially military families — has reduced the misperceptions and prejudice associated with mental health problems and encouraged more people to seek recovery.
In response to the overwhelming number of nominated programs featuring story lines about the behavioral health needs of service members and their families, the fifth anniversary of the Voice Awards will recognize the countless contributions of America’s military and spotlight the growing behavioral health challenges they face as they return home from war.
This year, military- and non-military-themed nominees include Temple Grandin, The Dry Land, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Army Wives, Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, and Sesame Workshop’s “Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change.”
The Voice Awards also will celebrate the achievements of community leaders with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use problems who are working to promote the social inclusion of their peers and offer hope for the real possibility of recovery. Moe Armstrong of Cambridge, Mass., will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and contributions to the mental health recovery movement and veteran’s mental health.
Consumer Leadership Awards will be bestowed on five mental health advocates and community leaders, including Gayle Bluebird, Gainesville, Fla.; Frederick Frese, Ph.D., Akron, Ohio; Clarence Jordan, Nashville, Tenn.; LaVerne Miller, Esq., Delmar, N.Y.; and Janet Paleo, San Antonio, Texas. The Young Adult Leadership Award will be presented to Lorrin Gehring of Provo, Utah.
Lear more about the Voice Awards here.