October 2013 Member Profile: Kris Lambert

Kris Lambert, PhD, MSN, RN is chair of the APNA Recovery Council and an Associate Professor at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. She sees working with nursing students as an opportunity to reduce stigma while also providing them with tools to provide safe, effective, and compassionate care. "In understanding the importance of mental health and wellness," she says, "students are able to practice self-care and in turn, promote mental health by instilling hope in those they serve."

In this month's profile, Lambert shares her experience at the Voice Awards, which she attended as APNA's representative. APNA was one of the 24 behavioral health and entertainment industry organizations that collaborated to support this year's Voice Awards.

The 2013 Voice Awards: Giving a Voice to Recovery
by Kris Lambert, PhD, MSN, RN

The Voice Awards, an annual event produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), represents an opportunity for the mental health and substance abuse community to recognize the film industry, community organizations and individuals dedicated to bringing awareness to the challenges and authentic lived experience of individuals living with mental illness issues. I was honored to attend this year’s event as the APNA representative.

The Paramount Studios in Hollywood hosted the event that included a meet and greet complete with savory appetizers and red carpet interviews with award recipients followed by the presentation of the 2013 Voice Awards. The event hosted by actors Mehcad Brooks (USA Network’s “Necessary Roughness”) and Max Burkholder (NBC’s “Parenthood) offered audience members the opportunity to sample clips from several award winning productions and provide background information on all awardees. I was surprised to learn of the work being done across the country to bring attention to the importance of mental health and the needs of those living with mental health challenges. These include:

  • General Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army retired and chief executive officer of One Mind for Research Inc.; a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to curing the diseases of the brain and eliminating the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and brain injuries
  • David Russell, screenwriter and director of "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Fighter", creating films dedicated to educating film audiences about the real experiences of people with behavioral health problems.
  • Joseph Rogers of Philadelphia, PA, impacting leadership with a goal to advance the recovery movement.
  • Patrick Kennedy, former U.S. Representative (Rhode Island), and author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 seeking to ensure equity in healthcare for those living with mental illness.

We were also treated to several film clips, introduced by the actors themselves that focused on bringing awareness to the issues and challenges of individuals living with mental illness and awareness of the needs of the people that love them including:

  • “Elementary” (CBS–Series Award) for addressing substance use disorders and addiction, support from co-workers, and recovery
  • “Homeland” (Showtime–Series Award) for addressing bipolar disorder, resilience, support from co-workers, and recovery
  • “NCIS” (CBS) for the episodes “Shell Shock (Part I)” and “Shell Shock (Part II)” addressing post-traumatic stress, resilience, support from colleagues and co-workers, and recovery
  • “The Newsroom” (HBO) for the episode “Bullies” addressing the impact of trauma, support from colleagues, and recovery
  • “Perception” (TNT–Series Award) for addressing schizophrenia, support from co-workers, and recovery
  • Bill W. for addressing substance use disorders, peer support, and recovery
  • "Of Two Minds" for addressing bipolar disorder, friends and family support, and recovery
  • "Running From Crazy" for addressing mental disorders, suicide, family support, and recovery
  • "Being Flynn" for addressing behavioral health problems, suicide, homelessness, friends and family support, and recovery
  • "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" for addressing the impact of trauma, friends and family support, resilience, and recovery
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" for addressing bipolar disorder, the impact of trauma, peer support, and recovery

Voice Awards Recipient Drew Horn

However, it was the inspirational, impassioned words of comedian and peer advocate: Drew Horn, founder and director of the Turn a Frown Around Foundation (TAFA) that exemplified the theme of the evening festivities: Giving a Voice to Recovery. The TAFE Foundation, dedicated to assisting those living with psychiatric and physical disabilities that have lost hope or feel isolated or friendless by linking them with a “forever friend network” seeks to irradiate loneliness from the lives of those living with a disability. He asked the audience to become “a somebody to a nobody, so the nobody can become somebody.” His message, so simple and yet so profound, brought audience members to their feet in applause in admiration for his passion for those living with mental illness each and every day. It was an inspirational, moving evening I will not soon forget.


To learn more about the Voice Awards and the awards recipients, download the program (pdf).

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