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SAMHSA Press Releases

Date: August 23 , 2006
Media Contact: Brandi Dobbins
Telephone: (202) 331-4323





The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) honored television, film and radio writers and producers last night at the second annual Voice Awards, hosted by Mariel Hemingway, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Winners were recognized for creating dignified, respectful and accurate portrayals of people with mental health problems.

“We are proud to recognize those in the entertainment field who are helping to change misunderstanding and misconceptions about people with mental health problems,” said Assistant Surgeon General Eric Broderick, DDS, MPH, SAMHSA Acting Deputy Administrator. “Because the entertainment field has the capacity to influence how the public views important social issues, it is critical that we acknowledge those who portray issues related to mental health and mental illness accurately and encourage them to continue to do so.”

Winners in the television category were the crime dramas Law & Order: SVU (NBC) for the episode “Ripped,” and Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye (PAX) for the episode “Mind Games.” “Ripped” highlights the role an engaging therapist can play for a person seeking help for personal problems. One story line in “Mind Games” focused on a how a psychiatrist helped educate and change the mistaken assumptions of police investigators about a person with mental health problems.

Proof and Jellysmoke won the in the film category. In Proof, the daughter of a brilliant mathematician affected by mental illness comes face-to-face with her fears about her possible predisposition toward mental illness. Jellysmoke explores the adjustment to life outside a psychiatric hospital by a young man with bipolar disorder.

Documentary winners included Legacy of the Harp; the Emmy-nominated I Have Tourette’s, But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me; and Shadow Voices: Finding Hope in Mental Illness. The six-part documentary, Legacy of the Harp, profiles people with mental illness who have reclaimed their lives and are helping others recover. I Have Tourette’s, But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me provides insight into how children with Tourette’s disorder live with their illness. Shadow Voices confronts the stigma associated with mental illness and explores both recovery and hope.

In the radio category, winners were Morning Edition (National Public Radio) for “Katrina and Recovery” and One in Five (Radio New Zealand) for “Crazy for Life.” The former focuses on mental health in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; the latter tells the story of actress Victoria Maxwell’s experiences with bipolar disease.

David Hoberman, co-creator and executive producer of Monk (USA), received a Career Achievement Award for his years of mental health advocacy. The TV series stars Tony Shaloub as Adrian Monk, a former police detective who solves crimes while also working to recover from his mental health problems, among them obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias. Hoberman, a member of the board of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, is one of today's leading producers, with over 100 movies to his credit, among them Raising Helen, The Shaggy Dog, and The Other Sister.

In addition, SAMHSA presented Special Recognition Awards to both Patty Duke and Ruta Lee for their long-standing commitment to mental health advocacy.

Duke is an Academy Award winning actress, a best-selling author, and a lifelong advocate on the topic of mental illness. Her Oscar-winning portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker launched a prolific career on stage and screen, work that has been recognized with three Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe awards, a People’s Choice Award, and many community service awards. She is the author of Call Me Anna. When the autobiography rose to the top of the New York Times charts in 1987, it launched Duke as a mental health spokeswoman, a role she fulfills to this day. Her second volume, A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness, was published in 1992.

Lee’s résumé includes major motion pictures such as Funny Face, Sergeants 3, and Witness for the Prosecution, and over 2,000 appearances on TV shows such as Perry Mason, Hogan's Heroes, and Murder, She Wrote. Lee co-founded the Thalians, which raises awareness of and funding for mental health services, and established the Thalians Mental Health Center at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which provides mental health services for people of all ages.

Mariel Hemingway, host of this year’s Voice Awards, is an outspoken advocate for suicide prevention and mental health. Her latest book, Finding My Balance, details her quest for a balanced life in a family well known for its history of mental illness. An actress, mother, and wife, Hemingway has worked in over 30 TV and film projects that have brought her roles in which she was able to explore mental health and other challenging issues.

The Voice Awards bestowed its Consumer Leadership award on five mental health advocates for raising awareness of mental health and expanding understanding that mental health problems exist in every community and affect almost every family in the United States. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Carmen Lee, a mental health advocate, and founder and executive director of Stamp Out Stigma, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing public perception of people living with mental illnesses.

SAMHSA received over 35 nominations for the 2006 Voice Awards. Individuals whose original television, film, and radio productions were first released during calendar year 2005 were eligible for nomination. The nine award winners were selected by a panel of judges including mental health advocates and professionals, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), communications and entertainment, and people who have experienced mental illnesses.

Voice Award program partners included: Ad Council; American Counseling Association; American Psychiatric Foundation; American Psychological Association; Anxiety Disorders Association of America; the Mental Health Media Partnership; NARSAD, the Mental Health Research Organization; National Association of Social Workers; National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; United Behavioral Health; and Writers Guild of America, West.

The Voice Awards are part of the National Anti Stigma Campaign, a program sponsored by SAMHSA with the Ad Council, to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.



SAMHSA, is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system.



SAMHSA is An Agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service