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SAMHSA to Recognize Community and Entertainment Leaders for Elevating Awareness about Mental Health and Addiction Treatment, Support, and Recovery at Tonight's 2018 Voice Awards

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Suicide Prevention Advocates Pastor Rick and Kay Warren host the event in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Tonight, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will recognize community leaders and members of the entertainment industry, including television and film screenwriters and producers, for their efforts to raise awareness about the importance of behavioral health and spread the message that people can and do recover from mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Hosted by suicide prevention and mental health advocates Pastor Rick and Kay Warren, the Voice Awards program also will honor prominent mental health advocate Gilberto Romero with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his five decades advocating for behavioral health services and support for underrepresented populations in New Mexico.

The Warrens are founders of the Saddleback Church in Southern California and authors of several books, including the best-selling “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Purpose Driven Church.” Following the loss of their son Matthew to suicide, the Warrens have become outspoken advocates for suicide prevention and improved treatment for people living with mental illness.

At this year’s evet, SAMHSA will present its Special Recognition Award to Walter Ginter, the founding Project Director of the Medicated Assisted Recovery Support (MARS™) Project. Ginter’s project has been instrumental in combating the opioid epidemic by providing peer recovery support to those assisted by medication in their recovery from an opioid addiction. The program also will honor CBS Cares with an Industry Achievement Award for bringing greater attention to critical health issues affecting many Americans.

In its 13th year, the Voice Awards program recognizes leaders in the entertainment industry and behavioral health community who work to increase awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The program also connects the television and film community with the people and stories they are portraying encourage accurate and respectful portrayals of people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The 2018 Voice Awards event will be streamed live beginning at 6 p.m. PDT/9 p.m. EDT from UCLA’s Royce Hall.

The following awards will be presented to community leaders and entertainment productions:

Lifetime Achievement Award for advocating for behavioral health services and supports for underrepresented populations in New Mexico:

  • Gilberto Romero, Cuarteles, New Mexico

Consumer/Peer/Family Leadership Awards for sharing their behavioral health journey and spreading hope in their communities by advocating that recovery is possible and helping others on their path to treatment and wellness:

  • Amy Gamble, Wheeling, West Virginia
  • Rozell Green, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Taryn Aiken Hiatt, Vineyard, Utah
  • James Moore, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • David Stoecker, Springfield, Missouri

Young Adult Leadership Award for teaching, mentoring, and encouraging young people to reduce the misperceptions around mental illnesses and substance use disorders:

  • Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro, Salt Lake City, Utah

Industry Achievement Award for leading the way to spotlight mental health issues that affect communities:

  • CBS Cares for their public service announcement series discussing topics such as substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide prevention

Television Productions

  • “9-1-1” (FOX) for addressing addiction and serious mental illness
  • “GIANTS” (YouTube) for addressing mental illness, resilience, and recovery
  • “Hawaii Five-O” (CBS) for addressing suicide prevention and recovery
  • “Mom” (CBS) for addressing suicide prevention, addiction, resilience, and recovery
  • “One Day at a Time” (Netflix) for addressing mental illness, trauma, and recovery
  • “This is Us” (NBC) for addressing addiction, resilience, and recovery

Film Productions

  • Loving Vincent for addressing depression and suicide

Documentary Productions

  • Battlefield: Home–Breaking the Silence for addressing PTSD, addiction, and recovery support
  • Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 for addressing mental illness, trauma, and recovery
  • Heroin(e) for addressing addiction, resilience, and recovery

The Voice Awards program is a collaborative effort among behavioral health and entertainment industry organizations. 

Join the Voice Awards conversation by liking SAMHSA on Facebook at and following and the hashtag #VoiceAwards on Twitter.

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Reporters with questions should send inquiries to

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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