Meet the 2018 Voice Award winners whose work and personal stories of recovery are educating the public about behavioral health.
2018 Award Winners
- SAMHSA Special Recognition
- Lifetime Achievement
- Industry Achievement Award
- Consumer/Peer/Family Leadership
- Young Adult Leadership
- Honorable Mention
WALTER P. GINTER is the founding project director of the Medication-Assisted Recovery Services (MARS™) Project. As a person in long-term recovery who was helped by methadone, Ginter understands the incredible value of medication-assisted recovery, as well as the misperceptions it can create. He created the MARS™ Project to provide peer support to others whose recovery from opiate addiction is assisted by medication. Furthermore, Ginter helped create the Beyond MARS™ Training Institute to train treatment programs to implement MARS™ around the United States. Initially launched in 2005 with funding from a SAMHSA Recovery Community Services Program grant, the growing MARS™ community currently includes 17 programs across the U.S. and two programs in Vietnam.
Prior to creating the MARS™ Project, Ginter served as vice president, director of training, and a board member for the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery. He has supported the recovery community in many roles, including as a Faces & Voices of Recovery board member; National Recovery Month planning partner; New York State Recovery Implementation Team member; and Methadone Transition Advisory Group member.
With a career in mental health advocacy spanning nearly five decades, GILBERTO ROMERO has extensive expertise in the mental health system and valued experiential knowledge as an advocate and consumer of mental health services. He hosted a radio program in New Mexico on mental health awareness for 18 years and served on SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council.
Romero has been honored with awards from numerous national organizations, including the National People of Color Consumer Survivor Network, Latino Behavioral Health Institute, New Mexico Public Health Association, American Association for World Health, Parents for Behaviorally Different Children, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Additionally, he has received the New Mexico Governor’s recognition for Achievement in Aging award (2007), Esperanza Hope Memorial Award, and the NASW Public Citizen of the Year Award. The governor also appointed Romero to the New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners. In 2017, Romero received an honorary Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern New Mexico College.
In 2017, the CBS television network scheduled public service announcements (PSAs) worth more than $200 million. A key part of this commitment was and continues to be the CBS Cares campaign, which was launched in 2000 and consists of PSAs featuring celebrities from many CBS programs. These PSAs have addressed a comprehensive list of causes and have featured many mental health and substance use issues, including autism, bipolar disorder, depression, diversity and tolerance, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, suicide prevention, and opioid addiction, as well as alcohol and other drug-related addictions.
With network PSAs as its fulcrum, CBS Cares has grown into a multimedia project involving many areas and talents at CBS, including entertainment, news, sports, digital media, radio, communications, and marketing. Moreover, the CBS Cares website and social media sites provide additional information on the subjects of the PSAs. Through CBS Cares, the CBS television network offers its prodigious platform to broadcast education, hope, and understanding across the nation.
DAVID STOECKER, a person in long-term recovery and founder and director of the nonprofit Better Life in Recovery (BLiR), has dedicated his life to “dealing” hope. Stoecker began using drugs and alcohol to escape a past of physical and sexual abuse and to cope with his anger, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. In 2009, after more than 20 years of substance use involving multiple suicide attempts, incarcerations, and near-fatal overdoses, Stoecker found hope and purpose in recovery.
Today, the former high school dropout has four college degrees, a loving family, and a career based on helping others. As a self-described #HopeDealer, he and his team at BLiR provide community volunteer opportunities for people in recovery and sponsor advocacy and sober social events. Additionally, Stoecker is a counselor for the Greene County, Missouri, treatment courts through Preferred Family Healthcare; vice chair of the Missouri State Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; and advocacy and education outreach coordinator for the Missouri Recovery Network.
Taryn Aiken Hiatt
TARYN AIKEN HIATT is the Utah and Nevada area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Prior to working in this role, Hiatt founded the AFSP’s Utah chapter and organized Salt Lake City’s “Out of the Darkness” suicide prevention walk. In 2016, Hiatt was chosen to participate in the short film series Voices of Hope, which highlights various people and their lived experience with suicide. Hiatt lost her father, Terry Aiken, to suicide on October 5, 2002, and is a survivor of her own attempts.
As a passionate advocate for the prevention of suicide through mental wellness and literacy, Hiatt shares her story to give hope and educate communities about suicide. She is a certified trainer for SafeTalk, Mental Health First Aid, and Connect (a postvention course), and has facilitated hundreds of seminars, sharing tools to help build resiliency in communities.
JAMES MOORE served as a part-time police officer for the City of Petal in the early 1990s and was elected to a term as city alderman in 2005. Moore used his bicycle shop to sponsor bicycle stunt shows in area schools with a message promoting abstinence from drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.
Jeffrey, Moore’s son, began experiencing addiction issues in junior high, which followed him through high school and into junior college. After Jeffrey’s death from an accidental drug overdose in 2015, Moore began advocating for those living with substance use disorders. Moore speaks in recovery centers, works with local fire and police departments to encourage first responders to carry naloxone, and is a frequent guest speaker with the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Study Task Force. His mission is to reduce discrimination surrounding addiction and offer encouragement to those seeking recovery.
ROZELL GREEN founded Another Chance of Atlanta, Inc., and serves as the organization’s executive director. When Green started Another Chance of Atlanta in 2000, the organization provided supportive services for women. Under Green’s leadership, the mission has expanded to provide supportive services, housing, and many other programs for veterans, families, and all individuals in need. As a coalition advisor and board member, she advises the organization on substance use issues, counsels the steering committee on community treatment options, facilitates training sessions, and organizes community support groups.
Over the years, Green has been a devoted advocate for those in recovery. As a substance use survivor for more than 26 years, she understands the difficulties that many people with addiction face. Green was recently featured in the Atlanta-based documentary Recover Out Loud, in which she offers inspiration and hope by sharing her story of addiction and recovery.
AMY GAMBLE is a former Olympic athlete and a champion of mental health advocacy. She serves as the executive director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Greater Wheeling, West Virginia.
One of Gamble’s greatest accomplishments is a trip to the 1988 Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. women’s handball team. She would later call upon her background in sports when facing an even greater challenge—living with bipolar disorder. Gamble’s mission in life is to help people living with mental illness and their families find help and hope. She strives to eliminate discrimination by sharing her experiences and triumphs of living with bipolar disorder. Gamble is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and a mental health speaker with 22 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. She has a Master of Arts degree in organizational management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, and she wrote the book Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor: An Olympian’s Journey with Mental Illness.
KYLI RODRIGUEZ-CAYRO is a Cuban-American writer, mental health advocate, grassroots activist, and entrepreneur based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Currently, she is a lifestyle writer for the online women’s publication Bustle, and she has written for other publications, including Huffington Post, Healthline, and the Salt Lake Tribune.
As an outspoken advocate for disability rights, sex workers’ rights, and restorative justice, Rodriguez-Cayro is passionate about ending sexual and domestic violence. She has participated on mental health panels, as well as spoken publicly about her lived experience as a survivor, sex worker, and disabled woman. In addition, she serves as a council member for Utah’s Department of Human Services System of Care, a member of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Start By Believing Committee, and a community outreach coordinator for the Youth of Utah Advocacy Coalition. She co-founded The Magdalene Collective in 2017, the only sex work activist community in Utah.
LOVING VINCENT explores Vincent van Gogh’s death by bringing to life some of the beloved artist’s most inspirational paintings. The story begins one year after his suicide, when postman and loyal friend Joseph Roulin asks his son Armand to deliver van Gogh’s last letter to his brother, Theo. Armand reluctantly agrees and heads to Auvers-sur-Oise, but upon his arrival learns that Theo died just six months after Vincent. With his mission incomplete, Armand takes on the role of amateur detective, determined to understand the circumstances leading to Vincent’s death. Along the way, Armand encounters many people in the village, each with a story to tell about Vincent. With more than 65,000 painted frames on more than 1,000 canvases, the film brings to life the artist’s oeuvre and, in doing so, tells the story of a man who was so much more than his tragic end.
Writers: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, and Jacek Dehnel
Producers: Claudia Bluemhuber, Sean Bobbitt, Ian Hutchinson, Ivan Mactaggart, David Parfitt, Gerd Schepers, Charlotte Ubben, Laurie Ubben, and Hugh Welchman
Directors: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Trauma and Addiction Storyline
(Season 1, Episodes 4 and 5)
The television show 9-1-1 follows first responders Athena Grant (Angela Bassett), Bobby Nash (Peter Krause), and Abby Clark (Connie Britton) as they navigate the intersecting dramas of their dangerous jobs and complicated lives.
When the team responds to a deadly plane crash, the intensity of the scene leads to untreated trauma in Bobby’s past resurfacing. Consequently, he experiences extreme emotional distress and relapses after 18 months of sobriety. Concerned for his well-being, his colleagues visit Bobby at home and ultimately learn the truth about his past, which includes an ongoing battle with addiction and the tragic death of his wife, children, and many others in an apartment building fire he accidentally started while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. After confiding in his team, Bobby realizes how much his guilt is affecting his life. Finally unburdened of his painful secret, he can now work on his recovery and begin to accept the past in order to build a future.
Writers: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Tim Minear, Zachary Reiter, Aristotle Kousakis, Erica L. Anderson, Adam Glass, John J. Gray, Matthew Hodgson, Adam Penn, Kristen Reidel
Producers: Erica L. Anderson, Angela Bassett, Bradley Buecker, Jeff Dickerson, Lou Eyrich, Brad Falchuk, John J. Gray, Matthew Hodgson, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Todd Nenninger, Adam Penn, Tanase Popa, Zachary Reiter, Karen Romero, Sara Stelwagen, Kristen Reidel, and Robert M. Williams Jr.
Directors: Bradley Buecker, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Barbara Brown, and Maggie Kiley
Serious Mental Illness (Bipolar Disorder) Storyline
The YouTube series GIANTS follows the lives of three African-American millennials—Malachi (James Bland), Journee (Vanessa Baden), and Ade (Sean Samuels). Determined to live on their own terms, they must face the “giants” in their lives along the way; for Journee, this includes mental illness and earning a living.
After many years of living with bipolar disorder, Journee finds treatment and with it gains the confidence to seek employment. While interviewing for a job, she shares her mental health history with her potential employer. It quickly becomes clear that this has changed the employer’s view of Journee and he seems unlikely to hire her. Then, in the final moments of the interview, an earthquake occurs. As others in the office panic, Journee remains calm and leads them to safety. Impressed by her presence of mind, the employer offers her the job. Ultimately, Journee demonstrates that her lived experience with mental illness has made her stronger.
Writers: James Bland, Christina Martin, and Vanessa Baden
Producers: James Bland, Davia Carter, CJ Faison, Takara Joseph, Jussie Smollett, and Leaders Up
Directors: J. August Richards, Takara Joseph, and Xavier Burgin
“O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia” (Season 8, Episode 13)
A modern adaptation of the classic television show, HAWAII FIVE-O tells the stories of a crime task force in Hawaii. In the episode “O ka mea ua hala, ua hala ia” (which is Hawaiian for “What is gone is gone”), the task force faces an especially destructive adversary: suicide. Brad, a man accused of killing his wife, threatens suicide in an intense face-off with Captain Lou Grover (Chi McBride).
In a gesture of empathy, Grover shares his past struggles with suicidal thoughts and alcohol misuse following a traumatic experience. Consequently, Brad shares that his wife suffered from severe depression and explains that in the moments leading to her death, fearing that she might do herself harm, he had confiscated her sleeping pills in a struggle. When he left their apartment, she died by suicide and he was left with immense guilt. The compassion and understanding shown by Grover help Brad on his path toward recovery, and he agrees to seek help.
Writers: Peter M. Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Sean O’Reilly, Liz Alper, Ally Seibert, and Zoe Robyn
Producers: Craig Cannold, Larry Goldstein, Eric Guggenheim, Rob Hanning, Alex Kurtzman, Peter M. Lenkov, Roberto Orci, Bryan Spicer, Peter M. Tassler, Matt Wheeler, and David Wolkove
Director: Roderick Davis
Addiction and Recovery Storylines
In MOM, Christy (Anna Faris) is a single mom who, after years of struggling with addiction, is now sober and trying to get her life on track. Her mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney), is also newly sober. Though life deals Christy many frustrations, she leans on her support system from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to maintain sobriety.
Addiction and recovery are an ongoing focus of the show, and in season five, addiction touches the lives of characters in new ways. In episode two, Bonnie’s half-brother, Ray (Leonard Roberts), returns from rehab claiming his recovery is going well, but revelations throughout the episode prove that Ray’s struggles are more serious than he is willing to admit. Then, in episodes 13 through 15, the storyline follows Jill (Jaime Pressly), a friend from Christy’s AA group, as she continues to work at her sobriety. Jill introduces the group to her “inner strength” coach Miranda (Kristin Chenoweth), which leads Christy to accept Miranda’s treatment for her depression. Later, in episode 18, Christy’s relationship with her long-standing AA sponsor is compromised, so she finds a new sponsor in Nora (Yvette Nicole Brown). Together, these episodes reinforce that there is no quick fix to addiction and that recovery is a lifelong process.
Writers: Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Gemma Baker, Alissa Neubauer, Sheldon Bull, Britté E. Anchor, Susan McMartin, Nick Bakay, Warren Bell, Marco Pennette, Adam Chase, Anne Flett-Giordano, and Michael Shipley
Producers: Nick Bakay, Gemma Baker, Warren Bell, Joe Bella, Sheldon Bull, Adam Chase, Michael Collier, Anne Flett-Giordano, Eddie Gorodetsky, Katie D. Jones, Toti Levine, Chuck Lorre, Susan McMartin, Carol Anne Miller, Alissa Neubauer, Jerry O’Sullivan, Marco Pennette, Michael Shipley, and Steven V. Silver
Directors: James Widdoes and Lea Thompson
One Day At A Time
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Storyline
Loosely based on the 1975–84 television series of the same name, ONE DAY AT A TIME follows three generations of a Cuban-American family living in the same house. Penelope (Justina Machado), an Army Nursing Corps veteran, is raising her two children, Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), with the support of her Cuban mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno).
In season two, Penelope is in a healthy relationship, her kids are happy, and she and her mother are getting along. Believing she is in a good place, she stops taking her medication and going to therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Lydia mistakes this to mean that Penelope is cured, but Penelope’s symptoms of depression return. Penelope’s friend Schneider (Todd Grinnell) helps Penelope understand that she will never be “cured” of these feelings and that treatment is vital. Accepting that she cannot “fix” her daughter, Lydia comes to support Penelope’s ongoing treatment, even if she does not understand it.
Writers: Gloria Calderón Kellett, Mike Royce, Michelle Badillo, Caroline Levich, and Debby Wolfe
Producers: Gloria Calderón Kellett, Dan Hernandez, Sebastian Jones, Becky Mann, Brent Miller, Patricia Fass Palmer, Andy Roth, Mike Royce, Benji Samit, Audra Sielaff, and Dan Signer
Director: Phill Lewis
This is US
(Season 2, Episodes 2 and 8)
THIS IS US follows Pearson siblings Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) as their lives intertwine. A primary storyline in season two follows Kevin as he battles an addiction to opioids.
Kevin, an actor, gets injured while filming a movie, which leads to an addiction to painkillers. Parallels to his father Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) addiction to alcohol further convey the devastation and pain that untreated addiction can cause in families. Kevin’s life spirals out of control until he finally arrives at the realization that he needs help, but before he is able to seek out help on his own accord, a drunk driving incident involving his niece forces him into therapy. Though the experience of family therapy is painful for his siblings and mother, it begins the healing process—not only for Kevin, but for the entire Pearson clan.
Writers: Dan Fogelman, Bekah Brunstetter, Kay Oyegun, Jas Waters, Isaac Aptaker, Tyler Bensinger, Elizabeth Berger, Vera Herbert, Don Roos, KJ Steinberg, Shukree Tilghman, and Laura Kenar
Producers: Isaac Aptaker, Steve Beers, Tyler Bensinger, Elizabeth Berger, Bekah Brunstetter, Glenn Ficarra, Dan Fogelman, Charlie Gogolak, Vera Herbert, Cathy Mickel Gibson, Ken Olin, Nick Pavonetti, John Requa, Don Roos, Jess Rosenthal, KJ Steinberg, and Shukree Tilghman
Directors: John Fortenberry and Ken Olin
Battlefield: Home – Breaking the Silence
Inspired by her own experiences as a military child during the Vietnam War, Anita Sugimura Holsapple directed BATTLEFIELD: HOME–BREAKING THE SILENCE to document the continued trauma that veterans and their families endure across generations. The daughter of a Japanese survivor of the bombing of Japan and a U.S. combat Marine, Holsapple’s experience is a testament to the impact of war and resultant effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. With the film, Holsapple attempts to bridge the social divide between families of those who serve and those they protect by shining a light on the hardships military families face, the obstacles they endure, and the hope they depend upon to heal. Filmed over a nine-year period, the documentary follows Holsapple’s journey of forgiveness and understanding through her relationship with her father.
Writer/Producer/Director: Anita Sugimura Holsapple
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 is a portrait of Mindy Alper, an exceptional 56-year-old artist based in Los Angeles. Her body of raw, emotional work reveals a lifetime of extreme depression and anxiety. Alper has experienced electroshock therapy, multiple commitments to mental institutions, and a 10-year period without speech. During this time, her only consistent way of communicating was through drawings and sculptures—work that brought her clarity. Eventually, through her art, Alper emerges from the darkness and isolation to embrace a life filled with love, trust, and happiness.
Writer/Producer/Director: Frank Stiefel
Huntington, West Virginia, has become the opioid capital of America, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. Once a booming industrial town, heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with an endless cycle of addiction. HEROIN(E) highlights three women working to change the town’s narrative and break the devastating cycle of drug misuse one person at a time. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over the city’s drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Backpacks & Brown Bags ministry feeds meals to the women working on the street to pay for their addictions. As America’s opioid crisis threatens to tear communities apart, these three women fight to take back their community by inspiring hope in those who need it most.
Producers: Zana Lawrence, Lisa Nishimura, Amanda Pike, Christa Scharfenberg, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon, and Jason Spingarn-Koff
Director: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
- Goodbye Christopher Robin
- 6 Balloons
- Elizabeth Blue
- The Tribes of Palos Verdes
- Skid Row Marathon
- Suicide: The Ripple Effect
- Understanding the Opioid Epidemic
- Black-ish (ABC)
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
- Queen Sugar (OWN)
- Designated Survivor (ABC)