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February 22, 2016 
Contact: Erin Wallace, 571-319-9594,

Alexandria, VA—Mental Health America (MHA) is pleased to announce the recipients of MHA’s 2016 Media Award. Each year, MHA honors media professionals and outlets who excel in their reporting and portrayal of mental health issues in news and entertainment media. The awards will be presented on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the Media Awards Luncheon during Mental Health America’s 2016 Annual Conference.

This year’s conference will take place June 8-10, 2016 with the theme Media, Messaging and Mental Health. The conference 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.

The 2016 Media Awards Luncheon will be emceed by CNN’s Kelly Wallace. This year's recipients include:

The Honorable Patrick Kennedy is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. His book, A Common Struggle, tells his personal story of “coming out” about suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction, his long journey to recovery, and his reflections on the current state of America’s mental health care system. During his 16-year career representing Rhode Island in Congress, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against these illnesses, highlighted by his lead sponsorship of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008—and his brave openness about his own health challenges. He is the founder of the Kennedy Forum, which unites the community of mental health, and co-founded One Mind for Research, a global leader in open science collaboration in brain research. 

Mom is an American sitcom on CBS. The series was created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, and Gemma Baker. It stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney in lead roles as mother/daughter duo Christy and Bonnie Plunkett. Both characters are in recovery from drug and alcohol use, and the show has become a standout for its efforts in tackling heavy storylines few others explore, including struggles with sobriety, addiction, substance abuse and relapse. In addition to capturing the truths of substance use, mental health and recovery, Mom and CBS are going the extra mile to educate the public about addiction, most recently joining with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on an addiction PSA.

You’re the Worst is a romantic comedy on FXX Network from writer and executive producer Stephen Falk. Starring Aya Cash and Chris Geere, it’s the story of self-destructive PR executive Gretchen and self-involved writer Jimmy. In the second season, it is revealed that Gretchen is suffering from clinical depression. A difficult topic for a comedy, You’re the Worst shines a light on clinical depression in a bold and authentic way, while still keeping the show funny. It has been heralded by many as the most accurate portrayal of clinical depression on television to date.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune and reporter Carrie Seidman tackled this year a topic many simply do not understand: schizophrenia. In “The S Word: The Stigma of Schizophrenia,” the newspaper looked at the disease in a way the media rarely does—from the inside out, and from the people living with it every day.  A multi-part project, Ms. Seidman highlights not just the shame and stigma surrounding the disease, but also herself—as the mother of Keaton, a man living with schizophrenia. In addition to her story, readers hear from other individual and families, and are educated about the misconceptions and myths surrounding the disease.

Learn more about MHA’s 2016 Annual Conference and our amazing line-up of speakers!