Archived 02/02/2017

The 10th anniversary of SAMHSA’s Voice Awards took place on August 13 and the star-studded recognition included actors Wayne Brady and Brittany Snow who were recognized with SAMHSA’s Special Recognition Award for their efforts to improve public awareness and understanding of behavioral health issues and the reality of recovery. Retired Major Sam Cochran of the Memphis Police was also honored with a SAMHSA Special Recognition Award for his work in developing the Crisis Intervention Team in Memphis, Tennessee.  This unit has become a model for improving the way law enforcement officials respond to people experiencing mental health crises and allows for safer, more appropriate responses.

  • Actress Chandra Wilson hosts the 2015 Voice Awards at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA
  • Actor Wayne Brady receiving a Special Recognition Voice Award for his effort to improve public awareness and understanding of behavioral health issues
  • Consumer and Peer Leadership recipients of the 2015 Voice Awards
Photos by Jon Didier Photography

Additional Voice Awards were given to:

Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplary leadership in suicide prevention research and advocacy at the community, state, and national levels.

  • DeQuincy Lezine, Ph.D., Fresno, California

Consumer/Peer Leadership Awards for sharing stories of recovery and working to improve public acceptance of people living with behavioral health issues.

  • Veronica Alston, Lusby, Maryland
  • Neil Campbell, M.S., Atlanta, Georgia
  • Bob Carolla, J.D., Arlington, Virginia
  • Dese’Rae L. Stage, Brooklyn, New York
  • Cheryl Sharp, M.S.W., ALWF, Annapolis, Maryland

Young Adult Leadership Award for teaching, mentoring, and encouraging young people across the nation faced with behavioral health challenges.

  • Hayley Winterberg, Glendale, Arizona

 Television Productions

  • “Elementary” (CBS—Series Award) for addressing substance use disorders and addiction, peer support, and the journey of recovery.
  • “Empire” (FOX) for a storyline addressing bipolar disorder, the impact of trauma and grief, and suicide.
  • “Madam Secretary” (CBS) for a storyline addressing mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 Film Productions

  • A Long Way Down for addressing mental health issues, suicide, and peer support.
  • Cake for addressing suicide and mental and substance use disorders.
  • Infinitely Polar Bear for addressing mental health issues and bipolar disorder.
  • To Write Love on Her Arms for addressing mental and substance use disorders, peer support, and the journey of recovery.
  • Welcome to Me for addressing mental health issues and borderline personality disorder.

Documentary Productions

  • Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw for addressing mental health issues, depression, suicide, and the journey of recovery.
  • That Which I Love Destroys Me for addressing mental and substance use disorders, PTSD, trauma, and the journey of recovery for returning military service members.

Entertainment Industry Leadership Award

  • Pixar for addressing the importance of children’s mental health and emotional well-being in its latest film, Inside Out.

The Voice Awards is a program based on proven strategies to counter negative attitudes, beliefs, and behavior associated with mental and substance use disorders by recognizing accurate depictions of behavioral health conditions by entertainment media.  The Voice Awards also connects the entertainment community with the people they are portraying: consumers and peer leaders.  This year, the event focused on the importance of addressing behavioral health as a means to prevent suicide.

A webcast of the 2015 Voice Awards ceremony will be available on SAMHSA’s YouTube channel soon.