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2013 Voice Awards Underpin Need for Acceptance, Treatment of Mental Illness, Addiction

Actor Geoffrey Rivas, who portrays social worker "Bill" on ABC Family's "The Fosters," and his wife Aida, on the red carpet at the Voice Awards. They were National Association of Social Worker guests.

Actor Geoffrey Rivas, who portrays social worker “Bill” on ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” and his wife Aida, on the red carpet at the Voice Awards. They were National Association of Social Worker guests.

The death of so many soldiers in his care during the Vietnam War severely traumatized Air Force medic Robert McKinley Gilmore Sr., who was barely out of his teens.

He soon ended up in the grip of depression and heroin addiction. Gilmore attempted suicide twice by the age of 20.

However, he was able to overcome his addiction and depression. Gilmore became a minister and author and is active in the Hope After Project, a Houston program that helps individuals and communities that are in crisis.

“We don’t need just prayers and anointing oil,” Gilmore said, explaining that in some parts of the African American community  people are still reluctant to talk about mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction. “Some of us need therapy.”

Gilmore was one of  several individuals, films and television programs who received a 2013 Voice Award on September 25 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles to honor them for their work in educating and helping others overcome mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction problems.

The awards are hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and supported by more than a dozen sponsors, including the National Association of Social Workers.

The National Association of Social Workers would like to thank its guests for representing us at the Voice Awards. Our guests included past NASW President Suzanne Dworak-Peck, founder of NASW Communications Network, Inc;  actor Geoffrey Rivas, who portrays social worker “Bill” on ABC Family’s “The Fosters”; and Rob Woronoff, a screenwriter who is working with actor and director Blair Underwood to develop a TV series about foster children and social workers. Destin Cretton, writer and director of the critically acclaimed film “Short Term 12,” planned to attend but could not because of a late meeting.

This year’s awards program focused on the continued need to lessen public stigmatization surrounding mental health  and alcohol and drug addiction. Some winners, including the 2012 drama “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and the documentary “Of Two Minds,” won Voice Awards because they helped educate the public about suicide and the plight of people living with bipolar disorder.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also sent a video message to the award show to let viewers know that the Affordable Care Act will make mental health care available and affordable for millions of uninsured Americans beginning January 1, 2014. Fewer than 40 percent of Americans who need mental health treatment get services and 90 percent of people with an alcohol or substance abuse problem do not get professional help, according to HHS data.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, past president of the National Association of Social Workers, and social worker Marvin Southard, DSW, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, past president of the National Association of Social Workers, and social worker Marvin Southard, DSW, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

But during a panel discussion during the Voice Awards that featured mental health professions and entertainment industry officials social worker Marvin Southard, DSW, said more than just health insurance is needed. Southard, who is director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, said people must be more willing to reach out and help family, friends and neighbors who may have mental health or addiction issues.

“Therapy is important and medication is great but it is communities that really help,” Southard said.

2013 Voice Awards Recipients:

General Peter Chiarelli, SAMHSA Special Recognition Award

Lauren Grimes, Young Adult Leadership Award

Mia St. John, Consumer/Peer Leadership Award

The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, former U.S. Congressman from Rhode Island and co-founder of One Mind for Research

Drew Horn, Consumer/Peer Leadership Award

Robert McKinley Gilmore Sr., Consumer/Peer Leadership Award

William Kellibrew IV, Consumer/Peer Leadership Award

Jennifer Constantine, Consumer/Peer Leadership Award

Joseph Rogers, Lifetime Achievement Award

David O. Russell, Career Achievement Award

TV series “The Newsroom,” Season 1, Episode 6, Bullies.

TV series “Perception”

TV series “NCIS,” Season 10, Episodes 6-7, “Shell Shock” Parts 1 and 2

TV series “Elementary”

TV series “Homeland”

Documentary “Running from Crazy”

Documentary “Bill W.: A Documentary about the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous”

Documentary “Of Two Minds”

Film “Silver Linings Playbook”

Film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Film “Being Flynn”

Film “Call Me Crazy”

Most Memorable Quote at the Voice Awards:

Voice Award winner Drew Horn of New Jersey experienced homelessness, extensive stays in psychiatric wards, failed marriages and businesses.  Today he is a therapeutic comic and clown and founded the Turn-A-Frown Around Foundation.

Horn made a point of hugging everybody he could, including other Voice Award recipients and members of the audience. Horn, who carried his trademark yellow hula hoop that he uses to catch smiles, urged the audience to never give up on family or friends who are trying to overcome mental illnesses or drug or alcohol addiction.

“Don’t get weary in well doing,” he said. “You’ve saved me over and over and over again.”

Drew Horn visit a nursing home. Photo courtesy of NorthJersey.com.

Drew Horn visiting a nursing home. Photo courtesy of NorthJersey.com.

Social workers are often at the forefront in helping clients overcome mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers “Help Starts Here” Mind and Spirit website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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