Alexandria, VA (May 9, 2023) – Mental Health America (MHA) today announced the 2023 recipients of its Clifford W. Beers Award, Betty Humphrey Equity Champion Award, Richard Van Horn 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 his efforts to improve conditions for, and attitudes toward, people living with mental health conditions. This year it will be presented to Antoine B. Craigwell.
In 2013, Craigwell founded DBGM, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness of the underlying factors contributing to depression and suicidal ideation in Black gay men. He produced the documentary “You Are Not Alone” and facilitates discussion forums on Black gay men living with depression. He also provides training in cultural competency, mental health, and HIV for the Washington, D.C., court 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 Mental Health America of Central Carolinas (MHAofCC).
MHAofCC has been the voice of hope since 1933 for those impacted by mental illness in the greater Charlotte area and is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. With the help of American Rescue Plan funding, they opened a free counseling center designed to serve marginalized communities and increase the pipeline of clinicians of color. The project was accompanied by a major marketing campaign, Caring for Communities of Color, featuring recognizable Black and Latinx faces.
MHA’s Richard Van Horn 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 Mental Health America of Ohio for the Perinatal Outreach & Encouragement for Moms (POEM) program.
The POEM program closes gaps in care for pregnant and early parenting people with mental health complications. Through care navigation layered with certified peer support, POEM serves as a single-entry point of care, providing mental and emotional care throughout the perinatal period. The entire program staff is composed of peers who support a trauma-informed model grounded in connection and lived experience.
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:
- Film: Mardy Fish and Directors/Executive Producers Chapman Way and Maclain Way for Netflix's “Untold: Breaking Point.” The documentary tells the story of Mardy Fish, the number one ranked American male tennis player, who shockingly quit tennis and largely disappeared from the public, staying in his house for months at a time. After seeking professional help, he worked through his trauma and went public with his struggles to help destigmatize anxiety and provide other athletes a model to follow when dealing with their own mental health issues.
- Print: Christine Herman for her story, “Families take drastic steps to help children in mental health crises,” published by the Center for Public Integrity. The piece shows how a lack of access to comprehensive children’s mental health services can tear families apart, and it served as the flagship story for the Carter Center Mental Health Parity Collaborative in its inaugural year.
- Television series: The newsroom and production team at KFSN-TV ABC30 for “A Critical State of Mind,” a five-part documentary series that looks at the state of mental health in California through the lens of lived experience.
- Broadcast: Renee Shaw, director of public affairs and moderator at Kentucky Educational Television, for her work as host of KET’s weeknight public affairs program Kentucky Edition. The show frequently features public affairs content on mental health and includes the perspectives of individuals with lived experience and youth.
- Online platform or podcast: Morra Aarons-Mele, creator and host of “The Anxious Achiever Podcast for LinkedIn Presents,” a popular business podcast that brings a real human perspective to managing mental health at work.
MHA’s mPower Award celebrates the life and work of a teen or young adult who speaks out about mental health issues to educate their peers and fight stigma. This year it will be presented to Aliza Lopez.
Lopez is a 17-year-old health care advocate, mental health activist, and researcher. She currently directs the 501(c)(3) organization, Medicine Encompassed – fostering a space that combines STEAM and health literacy to push out experiential learning platforms. Within her nonprofit, she is also a founder of The Astrocyte Initiative, a mental health project focused on increasing accessibility to resources and toolkits for student groups. In addition, she works at the company Neolth as the outreach subcommittee leader of its national ambassador program – arranging educational mental health presentations and wellness workshops for different institutions.
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 Diana Anzaldua.
Anzaldua is a licensed clinical social worker and trauma-resilient therapist in Austin, Texas. She is the founder of the award-winning health and wellness centers: Austin Trauma Therapy Center and Contigo Wellness. Anzaldua is a social change activist and influential leader in community-organized mental health equity and reform in historically marginalized communities.
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 Moe Keller.
Keller was director of advocacy for Mental Health Colorado for 12 years until her retirement in 2022. Before her work with Mental Health Colorado, she served for six years in the Wheat Ridge City Council, eight years in the Colorado House of Representatives, and eight years in the Colorado Senate, where she concentrated on legislation and policy for individuals living with mental health conditions and developmental disabilities.
All awards will be distributed during the 2023 Mental Health America Conference: Next Gen Prevention, taking place June 8-10 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 MHAnational.org.