2015 call for nominations. Nominate Now for SAMHSA's 2015 Voice Awards

About the Voice Awards

The Voice Awards program honors consumer/peer leaders and television and film professionals who educate the public about behavioral health. 

What Are the Voice Awards?

The annual Voice Awards program honors consumer/peer leaders in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders. These leaders play a vital role in raising awareness and understanding of behavioral health issues. They are sharing their stories of resilience and recovery to reduce the discrimination and misperceptions associated with behavioral health conditions.

The awards program also recognizes television and film writers and producers who give a voice to people with mental and/or substance use disorders. They incorporate dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of these individuals into their scripts, programs, and productions. Through their work, audiences can experience the stories of people with behavioral health challenges and embrace the hope and promise of recovery from these conditions.

Together, these two groups of leaders demonstrate that people with mental and/or substance use disorders can and do recover and lead meaningful lives.

The Voice Awards program is sponsored by the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The awards program broadly defines “consumer/peer leader” as a person who has received or is receiving services for a mental and/or substance use disorder.

Judging and Criteria

Consumer/Peer Leaders

Nominated consumer/peer leaders are evaluated based on their outstanding contributions in all of the following areas:

  • Personally demonstrated that recovery is real and possible
  • Led efforts to reduce the discrimination and misperceptions associated with behavioral health conditions
  • Made a positive impact on communities, workplaces, or schools

All nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges that includes consumer/peer leaders in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders, behavioral health advocates, HHS representatives, and communication professionals.

Television and Film Professionals

Television and film production nominees are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relative importance of the people with behavioral health conditions to the plot, subject matter, or storyline
  • Accurate representation of behavioral health information (conditions, symptoms)
  • Dignified and respectful depictions of people with behavioral health conditions
  • Portrayal of the concept of recovery from behavioral health conditions
  • Emphasis on contributions made by people with behavioral health conditions
  • Representations that reduce the discrimination and misperceptions associated with behavioral health conditions

Nominated productions do not need to reflect every element to receive an award. However, the highest ratings are reserved for those productions that emphasize the positive journey of recovery from behavioral health conditions.

All nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges that includes:

  • Entertainment industry professionals
  • Television and film writers and producers
  • Consumer/peer leaders in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders
  • Behavioral health advocates
  • HHS representatives
  • Other Voice Awards program partners
Last Updated: 03/26/2015