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Alexandria, VA – Mental Health America (MHA) today announced the 2022 recipients of its Clifford W. Beers Award, Betty Humphrey Equity Champion Award, Innovation in Programming Award, Media Award, mPower Award, George Goodman Brudney and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award, and Joseph de Raismes III Policy Award.

The Clifford W. Beers Award is MHA’s highest honor and is given annually to an individual with lived experience who best reflects the example set by MHA founder Clifford W. Beers in efforts to improve conditions for, and attitudes toward, people living with mental health conditions. This year it will be presented to Sally Zinman. 

Zinman is a pioneer of the mental health peer movement and has been since the mid-1970s. She is committed to ensuring the rights of people living with mental health challenges, especially after her own poor experience with the mental health system.

MHA’s Betty Humphrey Equity Champion Award was created in honor of Dr. Betty Humphrey, a tireless advocate for culturally competent mental health care. The award is given to an individual or organization for demonstrating an ongoing commitment to the fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion. It recognizes those who advance the intersectionality of mental health as it relates to discrimination, poverty, stigma, racism, and overall social and economic determinants of health. This year it will be presented to Open Paths Counseling Center.

Open Paths Counseling Center has been at the forefront of serving low-income clients and communities in Los Angeles for over 40 years. They assert that access to high-quality, culturally affirmative, trauma-informed mental health care should be available to people from all walks of life. 

MHA’s Innovation in Programming Award recognizes the continuing innovation and creativity of an MHA affiliate in program development and implementation. This year it will be presented to the Mental Health Association of New Jersey for the New Jersey Mental Health Players program. 

NJ Mental Health Players is a highly successful, interactive community education program that provides audiences with a dynamic way to receive basic education about mental illness, addiction, and other relevant challenges. The mission of the art and advocacy program is to increase education and awareness, decrease stigma, and break the silence often associated with mental health.

MHA’s Media Award recognizes journalists and filmmakers that tackle the issues of mental illness and addiction – and in doing so, educate, inform, and break down stigma around these issues. This year the award will be presented to:

  • Well Beings & Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, A Film By Erik Ewers & Christopher Loren Ewers. Executive producer Ken Burns. Executive producers for WETA: John Wilson and Tom Chiodo. The two-part, four-hour film, airing on PBS in June, is part of Well Beings, a national campaign from public media to demystify and destigmatize physical and mental health through storytelling.
  • Catherine Pearson, reporter for the Well section at The New York Times and previously senior reporter at HuffPost, along with Lindsay Holmes, senior wellness and travel editor at HuffPost, for the HuffPost article, “If You Have A Mood Disorder, You May Now Be Eligible For A COVID Booster.”
  • The newsroom and production team at WBIR Channel 10 (Knoxville) for a series of “Mental Health Monday” segments focused on removing stigma, increasing mental health education, and encouraging free screenings. 

MHA’s mPower Award celebrates the life and work of a teen or young adult who speaks out about mental health issues to educate his or her peers and fight stigma. This year it will be presented to Sam Gerry.

Gerry is a 20-year-old rising junior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He is the co-founder of Kick It for a Cause, Inc., a charity kickball tournament-turned-nonprofit organization supporting suicide prevention. 

MHA’s George Goodman Brudney and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award recognizes significant contributions made to the care and treatment of people living with mental illnesses by practicing professionals in the field of social work. This year it will be presented to Stacey Freedenthal, Ph.D. 

Freedenthal is a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Denver, and an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She focuses her work on helping people who experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors. 

MHA’s Joseph de Raismes, III Policy Award is an award created to honor the service and legacy of Joseph de Raismes III, who worked on the MHA Board of Directors, gave advice as MHA general counsel, and provided leadership on the MHA Public Policy Committee. The award honors an individual who – like Raismes – makes outstanding contributions to furthering mental health policy. This year it will be presented to Cynthia Wainscott. 

Wainscott was a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that released the landmark report, “Improving the Quality of Health Care for Mental and Substance Use Conditions.” She was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a member of the National Council on Disability. 

All awards will be distributed during MHA’s Annual Conference, titled “Forward Together: Recovery, Healing, Hope,” taking place June 9-11 in Washington, D.C. 


About Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at