(Season 2, Episodes 17–18: A Night of Neglect, Born This Way)
Emma (Jayma Mays) is a high school counselor who is very effective at giving others advice, but she is experiencing her own challenges. Emma spends much of her work and home life cleaning, disinfecting, and keeping her surroundings perfectly tidy. The situation has become serious enough that her recent marriage is ending. Her friend and sometimes boyfriend, Will (Matthew Morrison), sees her in the faculty room wiping every grape in her lunch. He sits down and helps her wash them, while having a conversation about how he will always support her, but thinks she would benefit from getting some help.
Meanwhile, the glee club members are learning to embrace what makes them different, and with encouragement from Emma and Will, they’ve planned a big number set to Lady Gaga’s hit “Born This Way.” They plan to claim their differences by naming them on the t-shirts they’ll wear during the next performance. Will is disappointed when he realizes that Emma named “ginger”—for her red hair—as her difference. Will has a serious talk with Emma, and she finally sees a mental health professional who helps her understand and accept her problems. Later, as the group begins their tribute on stage, the members finally show off their t-shirts. One of the last to reveal is Emma. Everyone is pleased and supportive when they see that it reads “OCD.”
Writers: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk
Producers: Ian Brennan, Bradley Buecker, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Alexis Martin, Ryan Murphy, Mary Robinson, Kenneth J. Silverstein, Zachary Woodlee
(Season 6, Episodes 23–24: Sanctuary, Death and All His Friends)
(Season 7, Episodes 1–3, 6–7, and 11: With You I’m Born Again, Shock to the System, Superfreak, These Arms of Mine, That’s Me Trying, Disarm)
Gary Clark (Michael O’Neill), the man who blames Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) for his wife’s death, arrives at Grace hospital with the intention of killing Derek, Dr. Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), and Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.). His shooting rampage at the hospital leaves 11 people dead, including himself, and several injured. In the aftermath, the doctors of Grace Hospital try to move on despite, dealing with varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) has the hardest time dealing with the effects of the shooting, and after struggling to perform her surgeries, she resigns from the hospital. Bound together by friendship, the doctors help each other heal and confront the challenges they face as individuals and as a hospital after the shooting.
Writers: Austin Guzman, William Harper, Shonda Rhimes, Krista Vernoff, Mark Wilding
Producers: Jenna Bans, Betsy Beers, Debora Cahn, Tammy Ann Casper, Zoanne Clack, Rob Corn, Karin Gleason, Mark Gordon, Allan Heinberg, Linda Klein, Stacy McKee, Tony Phelan, Jeff Rafner, Joan Rater, Shonda Rhimes, Lisa Taylor, Chris Van Dusen, Krista Vernoff, Mark Wilding
(Season 1, Episode 4: Wheels of Justice)
After Chunhua (Irene Keng) is assaulted, she is devastated to learn that her attacker, Carl, is being granted transactional immunity because of information he has about another case. Jenna (Brittany Snow) stops by Chunhua’s apartment and relates her own encounter with a “friendly” uncle at age 7. She knows that talking to people helps and tries to draw Chunhua out of her shell.
Later that night, Adam (Nathan Corddry) visits Chunhua and is glad to find that she is happy to see him. She talks to him about what she’s feeling.
Writer: David Kelley
Producers: Christopher Ambrose, Lawrence Broch, Tommy Burns, Bill D'Elia, Susan Dickes, David E. Kelley, Mike Listo, Billy Redner
(Season 4, Episodes 5 and 12: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Blowing Smoke)
As Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka), the 8-year-old daughter of Don (John Hamm) and Betty Draper (January Jones), approaches adolescence and is forced to confront the death of her grandfather and parents’ divorce, her relationship with her mother becomes more strained and emotionally abusive. To help Sally, the Drapers take her to meet with a child psychologist and work through her issues. The child psychologist reinforces for both Sally and her mother, who is dealing with the trauma of a difficult childhood, that it is OK to seek out help and talk to someone. By the end of the season, Sally is doing better in school and at home.
Writers: André Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Erin Levy
Producers: Jonathan Abrahams, Lisa Albert, Scott Hornbacher, Keith Huff, André Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Janet Leahy consulting, Blake McCormick, Dwayne L. Shattuck, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner
As Adam Braverman (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) face the challenges of raising a son with Asperger’s Syndrome, they continue to discover their son Max’s (Max Burkholder) unique spirit, as well as his courage and determination. Through patience, compassion, and unconditional love, Max’s parents learn to not only accept their son as he is, but also embrace his individuality—finding ways to nurture and encourage his potential and development.
Writers: Tyler Bensinger, Bridget Carpenter, Becky Hartman Edwards, Kerry Ehrin, Jeff Greenstein, David Hudgins, Jason Katims, Jan Oxenberg, Sarah Watson
Producers: Neal Ahern Jr., Becky Hartman Edwards, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, David Hudgins, Jason Katims, Dylan K. Massin, David Nevins, Devin Rich, Lauren Schmidt, Lawrence Trilling, Patrick Ward, Sarah Watson
(Season 4, Episodes 7–11 and 13: Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King? What Happens Next, Can't Find My Way Back Home, Just Lose It, If You Don't Know Me By Now, Blind Love)
Dr. Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) is raped and beaten in her office at the hospital. In the aftermath, she at first refuses to report the crime to the police, submit evidence via a rape kit, and discuss the incident with anyone. Her friends’ and husband’s offers of help and advice are met with sharp rebuke. As she has some time to heal and deal with what happened, she gradually softens, taking steps toward accepting help, therapy, and hope.
When through a bizarre coincidence the rapist is admitted to the hospital, Charlotte, following the advice of her friend Naomi (Audra McDonald), confronts him, letting him know that he has no power over her and that she forgives him. This enables her to release her anger, move on, and embrace those she loves.
Writers: Steve Blackman, Jennifer Cecil, Fred Einesman, Elizabeth Klaviter, Zahir McGhee, Shonda Rhimes, Craig Turk
Producers: Betsy Beers, Steve Blackman, Jennifer Cecil, Fred Einesman, Ayanna Floyd, Sanford Golden, Mark Gordon, Ann Kindberg, Barbie Kligman, Sheila R. Lawrence, Scott Printz, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Tinker, Craig Turk, Hans van Doornewaard, Karen Wyscarver
Facing the horrors of war and loss of friends, PFC Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), Sgt. John Basilone (Jon Seda), PFC Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello), and their fellow Marines experience depression, paranoia, psychotic breaks, and substance use issues as they battle the Japanese in very foreign environments during World War II. To help him deal with these traumatic experiences, Leckie is sent away to speak with a psychologist before being able to return to the battlefield, and other Marines provide support and encouragement to those having a difficult time. Even when the fighting is over, the struggles continue. Upon returning home, Sledge breaks downs while on a hunting trip with his father, who comforts Sledge after he acknowledges that he can no longer fire a gun due to his experiences during the war.
Writers: Laurence Andries, Michelle Ashford, Robert Leckie, Bruce C. McKenna, Robert Schenkkan, Eugene Sledge, Chuck Tatum
Producers: Michelle Ashford, Jonathan Brytus, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Jackson, Gene Kelly, Todd London, Cherylanne Martin, Bruce C. McKenna, April Nocifora, George Pelecanos, Kirk Saduski, Robert Schenkkan, Steve Shareshian, Miura Smith, Steven Spielberg, Tony To, Timothy Van Patten, Graham Yost
While rebuilding their families and communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, characters—including musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other New Orleans residents—face the ramifications of the trauma suffered due to the loss of their lives, homes, and culture.
Each character copes with a different aspect of this public tragedy. New Orleans bar owner LaDonna (Khandi Alexander) and her family deal with the search for, and ultimately loss of a brother who dies a few days after the storm. Long-time resident and college professor Creighton (John Goodman) and his family battles his depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which in the end, leads him to complete suicide, leaving his wife and daughter grieving. Sonny (Michiel Huisman) turns to substance use to deal with the challenges of post-Katrina New Orleans, and Antoine (Wendell Pierce), Janette (Kim Dickens), and Davis (Steve Zahn) seek comfort in family, friends, and even strangers in the months following the storm.
After returning to find his home severely damaged and his Mardi Gras Indian tribe scattered, “Big Chief” Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters) moves into the neighborhood bar, continues to create his elaborate costumes, and brings the other members of his tribe, as well as his son Delmond (Rob Brown), back to the city to play mass.
Writers: Anthony Bourdain, Lolis Eric Elie, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Tom Piazza, David Simon, James Yoshimura
Producers: Anthony Hemingway, Joe Incaprera, Nina Kostroff-Noble, Jessica Levin, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, Laura A. Schweigman, David Simon, Carolyn Strauss, Karen L. Thorson
IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY
Directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, and adapted from Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel of the same name, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is a comedy drama set in Brooklyn, NY.
It’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday. Craig Gilner (Keir Gilchrist) is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic; this bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents (Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan) and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital and is admitted by a psychiatrist. But the youth wing is temporarily closed—so he finds himself stuck in the adult wing.
One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult wing, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoë Kravitz). With a minimum 5 days’ stay imposed on him by the adult wing’s staff psychiatrist, Dr. Eden Minerva (Viola Davis), Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up.
Writers: Anna Boden (Screenplay), Ryan Fleck (Screenplay), Ned Vizzini (Novel)
Producers: Patrick Baker, Ben Browning, Michael Maher, Kevin Misher, Peter Rawlinson, Jeremy Kipp Walker
Directed and starring by two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, “The Beaver” is an emotional story about a man on a journey to rediscover his family and restart his life.
Overwhelmed with his own demons, Walter Black (Mel Gibson), once a successful toy executive and family man, struggles with major depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.
Writer: Kyle Killen
Producers: Dianne Dreyer, Steve Golin, Keith Redmon, Ann Ruark
Directed by David O. Russell and based on a true story, “The Fighter” is about two brothers who, against all the odds, come together to train for an historic title bout that has the power to reunite their fractured family and give their hard-luck town what it’s been waiting for—pride.
Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a struggling boxer long overshadowed by his older brother and trainer, Dicky (Christian Bale), a local legend battling his own demons and using drugs to cope. Their explosive relationship threatens to take them both down, but the bond of blood may offer a chance for redemption.
Writers: Keith Dorrington (Story), Eric Johnson (Screenplay/Story), Scott Silver (Screenplay), Paul Tamasy (Screenplay/Story)
Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Dorothy Aufiero, Keith Dorrington, Ken Halsband, David Hoberman, Eric Johnson, Ryan Kavanaugh, Todd Lieberman, Paul Tamasy, Tucker Tooley, Leslie Varrelman, Mark Wahlberg, Jeff G. Waxman, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
THE KING’S SPEECH
Directed by Academy Award-winner Tom Hooper and based on the true story of King George VI, “The King’s Speech” follows the royal monarch’s quest to find his voice.
After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth), who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, assumes the crown. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government, and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.
Writer: David Seidler (Screenplay)
Producers: Paul Brett, Iain Canning, Charles Dorfman, Simon Egan, Mark Foligno, Peter Heslop, Phil Hope, Geoffrey Rush, Lisbeth Savill, Emile Sherman, Deepak Sikka, Tim Smith, Gareth Unwin, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
DAD’S IN HEAVEN WITH NIXON
When Janice Murray first saw her newborn son, Chris, in the spring of 1960, the whites of his eyes were bright scarlet—a sure sign of oxygen deprivation. When he turned 4 and still wasn’t talking or developing normally, a wide array of medical “experts” told Janice that Chris’ prospects were bleak. Virtually all of them concluded that he was never going to talk, and their solution to the daunting challenge that Janice faced was brutally unanimous—put him in an institution. But Janice refused to consider giving up on reaching her son.
“Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon” is the story of Chris’ journey from the darkness of brain damage, coupled with what was eventually diagnosed as autism, to the light that is his life today—as a happy, independent, and fulfilled person, as well as an acclaimed artist. It is also the story of a mother’s enduring love and her fierce, primal determination to ensure that her silent, isolated, and seemingly aloof little boy reached the potential she was convinced he had.
Finally, the film is the story of tragedy and triumph in one family. Chris’ grandfather and father both had bipolar disorder—proud individuals who stubbornly refused to seek help for an illness that caused devastating damage for both men and their families. Against all odds, Chris not only survived, but ultimately thrived—an inspiring and shining example of the wonder and power of the human spirit.
Producers: Jefferson Miller, James Witker
IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE
This film continues the story of the rebirth of the Big Easy, begun in Spike Lee’s epic, Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.” Alongside the city’s storied ability to celebrate life with unmatchable ebullience, it documents the successes and failures in the ongoing efforts to restore housing, health care, education, economic growth, and law and order to a battered but unbowed community.
“If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise” visits Houston, where an estimated 150,000 New Orleans evacuees remain. The film also looks at other areas along the Gulf, including Gulfport and Biloxi, MS, where rebuilding has progressed more quickly. In addition, it assesses the impact of the more recent BP Gulf Coast oil spill and captures the reaction of area residents.
More than 300 people share their stories in “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise,” including former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, historian Douglas Brinkley, activist actors Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, Houston Mayor Anisse Parker, and community organizer Tanya Harris. In addition, longtime New Orleans residents, whose compelling testimonies were a key part of “When the Levees Broke,” provide updates on their lives.
Producers: Jacqueline Glover, Spike Lee, Sheila Nevins, Samuel D. Pollard, Butch Robinson
Thomas Napper’s empathetic but tough-minded documentary invites us into a part of Los Angeles that many choose to ignore—downtown’s Skid Row. As we meet the distressed area’s residents, including a former Olympic runner, a transgendered punk rocker, and an eccentric animal lover and her devoted companion, their remarkable stories paint a multifaceted portrait of life on the streets. There are undeniable problems—mental illness and addiction are common themes—but there is also hope and a surprising sense of community.
Passionate, polemic, and generous in spirit, “Lost Angels” finds a unique vitality to life on Skid Row and a stirring humanity in those who call it home.
Writer: Christine Triano (Narration)
Producers: Gary Foster, Karen E. Gilbert, Tyler Hubby, John Klos, Susan Klos, Agi Orsi, Cecy Rangel, Joe Wright
Civil war doctors called it hysteria, melancholia, and insanity. During the First World War it was known as shell-shock. By World War II, it became combat fatigue. Today, it is clinically known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a crippling anxiety that results from exposure to life-threatening situations such as combat.
With suicide rates among active military servicemen and veterans currently on the rise, the HBO special “Wartorn 1861–2010” brings urgent attention to the invisible wounds of war. Drawing on personal stories of American soldiers whose lives and psyches were torn apart by the horrors of battle and PTSD, the documentary chronicles the lingering effects of combat stress and post traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history, from the Civil War through today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Producers: Jon Alpert, James Gandolfini, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Sheila Nevins, Matthew O'Neill, Sierra Pettengill, Alexandra E. Ryan, Caroline Waterlow
Jacki McKinney is a survivor of early childhood abuse who experienced co occurring mental and substance abuse disorders, homelessness, and interactions with the criminal justice system—issues that have affected her family for three generations. For 21 years, she has been a vital force in the consumer/peer movement, particularly advocating for people of color and women’s issues, and has been referred to as the “co-founder of trauma awareness in America.”
In 1990 she was hired as the director of a pilot consumer case management program at Philadelphia’s “Project Share.” The study, which compared the efforts of professional case managers and consumer case managers in providing services and supports to patients leaving Pennsylvania’s mental hospitals, concluded that both were equally effective.
Ms. McKinney co-founded the National People of Color Consumer Survivor Network and has led the advocacy charge for persons from diverse backgrounds. She coordinated the first People of Color Conference at “Alternatives,” the national consumer summit, and served as a lead voice for the SAMHSA-funded, 5-year grant looking at women, trauma, co-occurring disorders, and violence. Additionally, she organized and directed a peer training and advocacy collaborative as part of that study.
She is the founding member of the Trauma Knowledge Utilization Project, a culturally diverse group of women consumer leaders who educate, train, and advocate for other consumer families and peers. She also coordinated and organized the groundbreaking trauma survivor’s “Trauma Champion’s Day” at the Dare to Act Conference in 2004.
Ms. McKinney has received many awards, citations, and honors, and recently received an Honorary Ph.D. for trauma work with returning homeless, female veterans. She serves on the boards of Mental Health America and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and has traveled across the country with her stories of healing and helping, demonstrating to people at conferences, workshops, and trainings that recovery is real and possible.
Tonier Cain’s story serves as an inspiration not only to all those who live with mental disorders, but also the general public. Over the past 7 years, Cain has traveled nationally and internationally to speak about her experiences with the criminal justice system, social services, and behavioral health and trauma treatment agencies. In telling her story, she clearly demonstrates the importance of coordinated treatment for individuals with mental and substance abuse disorders, trauma, and criminal justice system involvement. She makes it clear that recovery is possible for anyone, no matter what obstacles they have encountered. Despite her years of abuse, Cain has managed to maintain hope and has strived to build a better life for herself and her daughter.
Cain’s life story is one of extraordinary abuse, neglect, and despair, resulting in years of hospitalization, incarceration, and homelessness. With 83 arrests and 66 convictions, psychiatric hospitalizations, and substance abuse treatment, not to mention years of living on the streets, Cain excelled after someone finally asked, “What happened to you?” rather than “What’s wrong with you?” Addressing the cause rather than the symptoms enabled her amazing spirit to shine.
Today, Cain shares her message of hope nationally and internationally, speaking at professional conferences as well as working with consumers and staff in psychiatric, correctional, and homeless facilities. Her advocacy work has underscored the importance of including consumers in all aspects of behavioral health treatment systems, and her work has made a significant change in the way services are provided. She is featured in the documentary film “Behind Closed Doors” and the newly released “Healing Neen.” Her mantra “Where there is breath...there is hope” inspires and encourages both those receiving and providing support. Her journey to recovery is nothing short of remarkable; her message of hope is enlightening and profound.
Athena Haddon is the Director of Everyday Miracles, a peer recovery support center hosted by Spectrum Health Systems in downtown Worcester, MA. Considered an exemplary peer leader, Haddon is the heart and soul of the recovery center, which serves more than 3,500 diverse members in recovery from alcohol and/or illicit drug addiction. She has worked there since 2008, and is revered by members for her ability to listen, guide, motivate, and problem-solve. Because she is completely non-judgmental, women with trauma histories who do not readily accept help actually approach her for help.
Haddon’s leadership has created an inclusive atmosphere at the center where individuals with trauma histories and behavioral health problems feel safe, welcomed, and accepted. Her impact in the community is equally powerful. She was instrumental in organizing the Worcester Cares About Recovery Walk & Celebration, which brought together more than 2,000 community members, individuals in recovery, and families for a community event to celebrate National Recovery Month. She regularly works with community leaders, treatment providers, and legislators to advocate for the rights of individuals in recovery. Most recently, she organized local efforts to support changes to the State criminal background checks law to make it easier for ex-offenders to secure employment.
Haddon shares her personal recovery openly, particularly with women who face a cycle of drug use, prostitution/sexual abuse, and incarceration, including working with women charged with prostitution-related crimes as part of the Developing Alternatives for Women Now (DAWN) program. This past spring, Haddon completed a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC) program, preparing her for future clinical work with individuals who have trauma histories.
Heidi Kraft earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California - San Diego School of Medicine and completed an internship in medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center. She joined the Navy during her internship and served 9 years on active duty, as both a flight and clinical psychologist. In February 2004, she deployed to Iraq for 7 months with a Marine Corps surgical company when her twins were 15 months old. Her book, “Rule Number Two,” is a memoir of that experience.
In the book, Dr. Kraft shares stories of war and trauma, including the trauma that affects the caregivers in harm’s way alongside their patients. Since leaving active duty in 2005, Dr. Kraft has worked as a consultant for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ Combat Stress Control programs. In that capacity, she has provided between 40 and 50 invited presentations per year for audiences ranging from active duty leaders to health care providers to veterans and community support groups. She describes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a “cumulative, exhausting, ongoing, repetitive injury” that is exacerbated by the feeling of isolation that often accompanies it. In her words, “a sense that, since it will never REALLY be okay to admit how much it hurts, that it will be a long battle. That feeling, and that feeling alone, is the reason that gatherings and celebrations like this one today are so very, very, important. So that someday we can say for sure that none of our combat veterans will ever feel alone again.”
She has shared her experiences with 179 different audiences reaching almost 27,000 people, including deployed active duty audiences in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany, Japan, and Cuba.
Dr. Kraft’s honest and caring connection has encouraged those with PTSD to seek help and engage in their recovery. Her advocacy has impacted sailors, Marines, caregivers, and leaders alike to overcome the stigma associated with mental health challenges and begin their own recovery journeys.
Former U.S. Army Captain Luis MontalvÁn completed more than 17 years of military service with two combat tours in Iraq, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, and an Army Commendation Medal for Valor. Upon returning from Iraq, his real battle began. After his second tour, Montalván was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his exposure to numerous traumatic experiences. Additionally, he sustained fractured vertebrae and a traumatic brain injury.
After honorable discharge from active duty, he sought treatment and slowly began his recovery journey. In the process, he became one of the pioneers and premier advocates for providing service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD, after he received his own service dog, “Tuesday.” In fact, it was due to Montalván’s efforts that the first bill that Senator Al Franken of Minnesota introduced was to make service dogs more available for disabled service members and veterans.
Montalván’s story has been profiled in numerous media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS, and a National Geographic Documentary “And Man Created Dog.” His book “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him,” was an instant New York Times bestseller.
Through his own powerful journey of healing, he has raised public awareness of the issues facing thousands of veterans who suffer in silence from combat related mental and psychological trauma. Through his willingness to discuss his own journey, he has shed light on a topic that is little understood and rarely discussed—invisible disabilities. In addition, his advocacy on behalf of providing service dogs to veterans has opened the door for others to receive similar support and has offered hope to many.
Pat Risser has been a tireless and effective advocate for mental health consumers for more than 25 years, and a human rights activist for most of his life. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1973, he successfully raised a family and continued to work. In 1980, he was hospitalized following his first serious suicide attempt and subsequently had more than 20 hospitalizations over the next few years. He worked hard and with good peer support, over the next several years, he recovered.
During his recovery, Risser worked as an intensive case manager with people identified as homeless and mentally ill and as a therapist at a locked inpatient unit. He tried to change the system from within, but felt that he could have a greater impact working outside the system. He traveled Colorado and started more than 40 peer support self-help groups and brought them together as the first statewide consumer network.
As Risser’s involvements grew, so did his national reputation as a leader of strength, intelligence, and integrity. He worked in California as director of a patients’ rights program and county self-help network organization. Using his experience and expertise, he designed peer training that incorporated his own vision of trauma-informed care as well as many of the basic core concepts of advocacy.
Risser is a past president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) and is a leading advocate for building coalitions in the cross-disability movement. He has served on the board of Witness Justice and provided leadership on addressing gaps that survivors experience in our systems and how best to advocate for positive change. He has championed the cause of trauma survivors on local, State, and national levels for almost 30 years.
Amanda Gregory, as a 22-year-old woman, is a wonderful image of how life experiences can be transformed into growth and strength. She has shared her experiences with others through her overwhelming efforts to improve youth-serving systems, support and empower young people to welcome wellness into their lives, and provide a voice for young people on the local, State, and national levels. She is an example of a young person who has overcome many life-altering experiences while faced with depression and loss.
As a consumer of mental health services at 14 years old, Ms. Gregory became involved in a SAMHSA-funded Children’s System of Care in Glenn County, CA. She then began her healing process through individual counseling and found her voice through spoken-word poetry, thanks to her involvement with the Transition Aged Youth Center.
Ms. Gregory advocates for youth on SAMHSA’s Council on Collaboration and Coordination (CCC), which assists communities of all kinds in transforming the mental health system for children and their families, as well as SAMHSA’s National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, or Two-Spirit) and their families.
Ms. Gregory currently serves as the vice president of Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others Through Voices of Experience) National Inc., a youth-led national organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development by uniting individuals who have lived experience in various systems, including mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare. She is a certified Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner working in the healing community, and a recognized youth leader in her community supporting young people in the mental health, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems. She continues to make a positive and authentic difference in the lives of many.
Over the past 40 years, Ron Barber has held management positions in community-based organizations and State and local governments. He has served on numerous boards including the ARC of Pima County, the Pima Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.
During his public service career Mr. Barber has been the Director of Headstart and Regional Administrator and State Director for the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities. In 2007, he was appointed by then newly elected Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to be her Congressional District Director.
Mr. Barber was standing beside Congresswoman Giffords when they were both shot on January 8 in Tucson. Since the shooting, he established the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, which is initiating an anti bullying program in public schools and a community-wide educational campaign to increase awareness of mental illness symptoms and treatment services and reduce stigma.
MAYOR ROBERT E. WALKUP & MRS. BETH WALKUP
A native Iowan, Robert E. Walkup is in his third term as mayor of Tucson. During his tenure, he has made important contributions to the city’s transportation, economic, and environmental progress. Believing that mayors can play a key role in reducing health care costs, Mayor Walkup initiated the Healthy Tucson Initiative locally and the Global Alliance for Community Wellness internationally, which commits mayors and city governments to partner with local health care leaders to demonstrate healthy lifestyles and support prevention programs in order to improve the city’s quality of life.
A native of Nebraska, Beth Walkup has taught high school and worked as a social worker in a children’s orphanage. In the nonprofit field, she has worked in space science, third world development, music, urban land use, food distribution, and children’s museums. As a family member of individuals with addictions, mental illness, and learning difficulties, Ms. Walkup has focused heavily on serving in these areas, and is one of the founders of Meth Free Alliance in Tucson.
Following the January 8 tragedy in Tucson, Bob and Beth Walkup have focused on healing their community, making sure residents understand that Tucson remains a great community, even as they mourn those who were lost that day. In the days that followed the shooting, Mayor Walkup proposed a “civility accord,” which calls for people to treat each other with dignity and respect, and with understanding and compassion and generosity. They have stepped up their involvement in the fields of civility and mental illness on a national level, reaching out to mayors across the country to ensure that those in our communities with mental or addiction problems are getting help early.