2015 SAMHSA Voice Awards Recap
Wednesday August 12, 2015
I had the wonderful opportunity to represent APNA at the 10th Annual SAMHSA VOICE Awards in Los Angeles, California. The VOICE awards give honor to consumer/ peer leaders as well as television and film professionals who seek to educate the public about mental health awareness through their work. I was honored to have met and sat next to a fellow APNA member, Dr. MarySue Heilemann, who conducts research at UCLA on Latina women and mental health as well as researches and advocates for the media portrayal of nurses.
This year’s awards ceremony was lead by Chandra Wilson from Grey’s Anatomy, and the theme was SUICIDE awareness and prevention. Throughout the evening myths and facts about suicide as well as statistics were presented. We heard that “died by suicide” is the more acceptable way to describe suicide, rather than committed or completed suicide. We witnessed consumer, Dese’rae L. Stage speak of the shame of living through suicide. She presented the powerful work that can be done to find healing and acceptance, through support, advocacy, and education in creating, Live Through This, a living exhibit of suicide survivors and their stories.
Awards were given to Hollywood films and TV shows, both documentary and fiction. “Vets, we don’t need saving…. We need understanding.” The words of Tyler Grey and Jayson Floyd, both Veterans of the US Military who were present at the awards ceremony and accepted the award for, “That Which I Love Destroys Me,” a film depicting their reintegration over 3 years into civilian life. We heard that a veteran dies every 22 minutes by suicide in the US, this documentary hopes to support the process of reintegration and reduce these numbers.
There were nearly 20 SAMHSA Voice awards each individually unique and deserving. The common denominators amongst all were education and advocacy for those living or touched by mental illness. This ceremony celebrated the work and creativity of those who ARE sharing their message, in hopes of making an impact on the right person at the right time.
You can view photos from the event here:
Arrivals & Pre-Show: https://vanguard-events.smugmug.com/Events/2015VoiceAwardsArrivals/
Awards Ceremony (On Stage): https://vanguard-events.smugmug.com/Events/2015VoiceAwardsStagePhotos/
Awards Ceremony (Backstage): https://vanguard-events.smugmug.com/Events/2015VoiceAwardsBackstage/