The Voice Awards

Sue Bergeson Health Guide
  • Over the years that I've served as CEO of DBSA, many of you have expressed your frustration and concern with the way consumers of mental health services are portrayed in the media. Why are we always the axe murderers and thugs? What about the millions of us who do good things in the world?


    Well, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has heard those frustrations and developed the Voice Awards. This program, which began in 2005, provides a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a movement to reduce stigma associated with mental health problems and promote recovery by acknowledging and celebrating the efforts of entertainment professionals who have helped support that movement.

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    The Voice Awards recognize entertainment writers and producers who incorporate dignified, respectful and accurate portrayals of individuals with mental illnesses into film and television productions, thus giving a voice to those with these illnesses. In addition, the Voice Awards acknowledge the tireless efforts of consumer leaders to reduce stigma and discrimination.


    This year, the Voice Awards will recognize Larry Fricks, DBSA's vice president of peer services, at the May 28 ceremony held in Los Angeles on the Paramount Studios lot. The event will be hosted by Joe Pantoliano (aka, "Joey Pants," known for his roles in The Sopranos, The Matrix and other well-known TV shows and movies). The Awards will bring together people from the entertainment industry, consumer movement and advocacy community for a night that celebrates increased awareness of mental health issues and recovery by honoring 26 films, shows and individuals. The evening will be a theater-style awards presentation complete with an after-party on the Paramount Studios lot.

    (Attendance is by invitation only. If you're interested in receiving an invitation, you can send your request to


    If you had a vote in these Awards, what movies, shows or consumer leaders would you nominate?




Published On: May 07, 2008