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Nominations Now Open for First-Ever SAMHSA Trailblazers in Advancing Recovery (STAR) Awards

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Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) began accepting nominations for the inaugural SAMHSA Trailblazers in Advancing Recovery (STAR) Awards. The STAR Awards honor leaders with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use conditions including youth and family members whose lives have been affected. In addition, the STAR Awards will recognize organizations who have demonstrated commitment to promoting equitable and inclusive access to wellness and recovery supports for individuals with mental health and/or substance use conditions.

“People with lived experience of substance use and mental health conditions can be tenacious advocates for recovery,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “They understand that recovery is a journey, not a destination, and many passionately work to make that path just a little easier for others. With the STAR Awards, SAMHSA honors the work, sacrifice, and achievements of recovery trailblazers. These leaders provide support to people on their recovery journey and inspire others to take that first step.”

In 2023, SAMHSA published Recovery from Substance Use and Mental Health Problems Among Adults in the United States, which indicates that over 70% of people (over 50 million) who identified as ever having a mental health and/or substance use problem were in recovery.

Nominations are open June 26 to July 18, and an awards ceremony will be livestreamed in September as part of SAMHSA’s National Recovery Month observances.

Nominations will be accepted in the following categories:

  • Equity Champion of the Year
  • Young Adult Leader of the Year
  • Peer Support Worker of the Year
  • Advocate of the Year
  • Family Leader of the Year
  • Wellness Champion of the Year
  • Innovator of the Year

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at To learn how to get support for mental health, drug, or alcohol issues, visit If you are ready to locate a treatment facility or provider, you can go directly to or call 800-662-HELP (4357).

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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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