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May 5, 2016

MHA is pleased to announced the recipients of our 2016 Awards.

MHA will honor an impressive group of individuals, communications professionals and innovative programs next month at our 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging and Mental Health in Alexandria, Virginia on June 8-10. Throughout the three days MHA will present the Clifford W. Beers Award, the Innovation in Programming Award, the youth-focused mPower Award, the Media Award, and the George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award.

MHA’s highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award, will be presented to mental health advocate, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker Kevin Hines. The Clifford W. Beers Award is presented annually to mental health consumers who best reflect the example set by MHA founder Clifford W. Beers in his or her efforts to improve conditions for and attitudes toward people living with mental health conditions. Kevin’s story is a remarkable testament to the strength of the human spirit and a reminder for us to love the life we have. Two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (19 years of age), he attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of only thirty-four to survive the fall, and the only one to regain full physical mobility. The fall would break his body, but not his spirit. Today, Kevin dedicates his life to saving lives by spreading the message of hope and sharing his art of living mentally well.

MHA’s mPower Award goes to a two-person team from Duke University, Nancy Su and Eddie Liu. Together, they created one of the most popular and helpful smartphone apps for depression called MoodTools. MoodTools is a free smartphone app that provides six evidence-based tools to aid against clinical depression and negative moods on a large scale. The mPower Award celebrates the life and work of a teens or young adult who has spoken out about mental health issues to educate his or her peers and fight stigma. The award will be presented at MHA’s Clifford W. Beers Awards Dinner on June 8.

MHA’s Innovation in Programming Award, which recognizes the continuing innovation and creativity of the MHA affiliate network in program development and implementation, goes to MHA of Georgia for its Project Healthy Moms—the only program of its kind in Georgia—that works to increase awareness, identification, treatment, and support of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) in Georgia. Project Healthy Moms’ programs target both individual factors, such as peer support, education, and awareness, as well as environmental and societal frameworks, such as resource linkage, provider education, community partnerships, and advocacy work. The program has been and remains at the forefront in raising awareness about maternal mental illness in Georgia.

MHA’s 2016 George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award, which is given for significant contributions to the care and treatment of persons with mental illness, goes to Karen Sowers, Ph.D. Dr. Sowers is a Professor and Dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Sowers is a trained clinical social worker in mental health, and is well known for her research in the areas of international practice, juvenile justice, child welfare, cultural diversity and culturally effective intervention strategies for social work practice, evidence-based social work practice and social work education. She is the author of numerous books and is the founding co-editor of Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal.

MHA’s Media Award will be presented to the television shows Mom (CBS) and You’re the Worst (FXX), The Honorable Patrick Kennedy for his book A Common Struggle, and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for its multi-part project, The S Word: The Stigma of Schizophrenia. MHA's Media Award will be presented on Thursday, June 9 at the Media Awards Luncheon. The 2016 Media Awards Luncheon will be emceed by CNN’s Kelly Wallace.

MHA's 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging and Mental Health will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness. With a particular focus on the entertainment industry, the digital landscape, and the press, we will explore the good and the bad of portrayals on the big and small screen; how the digital landscape is revolutionizing how we deal with mental health; how celebrity can be used to influence the conversation; how messaging and language can sometimes contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people living with mental illness; and how mental health advocates can work together to change the conversation.