Written By: Wilma Townsend, Acting Associate Director, Office of Consumer Affairs, Center for Mental Health Services
Calling all behavioral health advocates! SAMHSA is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Voice Awards. The awards honor leaders in the field of behavioral health, as well as leaders in the entertainment industry, who play a vital role in educating the public about the real and uplifting experiences of people in recovery. Once again, winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony—now in its 7th year—at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif. on Wednesday, August 22.
The Voice Awards honors behavioral health advocates and the entertainment industry for demonstrating through their work that people can and do recover from mental health and substance use disorders and lead full and meaningful lives in their communities. Nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges that includes TV and film writers and producers, consumer/peer leaders, and advocacy organizations, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other Voice Awards program partners.
This year, the awards program will spotlight the strength and perseverance of athletes who face unique challenges in managing mental health and/or substance use disorders, while continuing to train, compete, and remain in the public eye. Consideration is being given to consumer/peer leaders who educate the public about the behavioral health challenges of athletes and help empower them to begin a journey of recovery. Additional consideration is being given to TV and film productions that accurately and respectfully portray the behavioral health struggles of athletes, their resilience, and their paths to recovery.
Nominations for consumer/peer leaders are due by this Friday, April 13. Eligible consumer/peer leaders must have led efforts to promote the social inclusion of people with behavioral health problems, personally demonstrated that recovery is real and possible, and made a positive impact on his/her community, workplace, or school.
Eligible entertainment productions must contain a positive behavioral health storyline that incorporates dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of people with behavioral health challenges, and must have been released after April 15, 2011. Nominations for entertainment productions are due by Friday, April 27. Nominations are open to all and submission is free. There is no limit to the number of nominations an individual can submit. Self-nominations are welcome.