Changing Perceptions & Raising Awareness
|Recipients of 2014 Voice Awards|
Eye-opening stories, emotional testimonies, and laughter at the 2014 SAMHSA Voice Awards.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Annual Voice Awards celebrate consumer leaders, television and film writers, and televison and film producers who have raised awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders. In doing so, the program educates the public about mental and substance use disorders, demonstrates that recovery is real and possible, and changes how the public understands and accepts people with behavioral health conditions.
For the fourth year, APNA participated as a program partner. APNA Member Babette Wieland headed to Los Angeles on August 13th to attend the Voice Awards on our behalf. Here, she reflects on her experience:
I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with the SAMHSA Voice Awards until invited to attend by the APNA.
My experience was both humbling and uplifting.
The diversity of the attendees reflected the broad spectrum of honorees - single moms to celebrities - all engaged in their personal transformations as well as reaching out to those still struggling.
The essence of recovery is to relegate the diagnoses of substance abuse/addiction and mental illness to the banal list of obstacles every human faces and overcomes: no less serious than diabetes and no more of an impediment in terms of life goals and happiness.
'Seeing the person' means looking past their “imperfections”. For some of the honorees, it was their so-called “problem" that raised them up, revealed the beauty of their nature, and led them to do exemplary things. Others had to struggle against their celebrity which "allowed" them to indulge in rather than overcome their addictions.
The evening was filled with eye-opening stories, emotional testimonies and laughter. I warned the person sitting next to me that i am a crier, and there were many moments that moved me to tears.
Most of all, it was about hope and recognition for everyone working toward recovery for themselves and others. I am so appreciative to have had the opportunity to witness so many wonderful transformations and to learn just how broad and inclusive the recovery movement is.
Babette Wieland, MSN, BSN
Learn More About the 2014 Voice Awards: