Metta World Peace receives Special Recognition Award at SAMSHA’s 2012 Voice Awards

National program recognizes community, sports, TV, and film industry leaders who raise awareness about recovery and promote understanding of mental health and substance use disorders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) honored Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers with a Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Voice Awards for his work to raise awareness about mental health issues and for his financial support of charities that provide mental health awareness and treatment services for children. In addition, SAMHSA recognized screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes with a Career Achievement Award for her ongoing efforts to educate television audiences about the real experiences of people with behavioral health problems and those impacted by trauma.

The event took place on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif. Since 2005, the Voice Awards has brought together representatives from the entertainment industry and the behavioral health community for an evening of educational awareness building about mental health and substance use disorders and the power of recovery. This year, SAMHSA highlighted stories of mental illness and substance abuse, as well as the behavioral health challenges of athletes, including their resilience and paths to recovery.

The awards program recognizes the achievements of consumer/peer leaders who are sharing their stories of recovery and working to promote the social inclusion of people with behavioral health problems throughout the Nation. William (Bill) White of Bloomington–Normal, Ill., received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership, research, and advocacy to promote recovery from addictions. Consumer/Peer Leadership Awards were presented to behavioral health advocates and community leaders Henry Acosta, Plainsboro, N.J., and Shery Mead, Plainfield, N.H., as well as advocates and athletes Chris Herren, Portsmouth, R.I.; Chamique Holdsclaw, Atlanta, Ga.; and Brandon Marshall, Chicago, Ill. The Young Adult Leadership Award was presented to Brittany Holt of Greensboro, N.C.

The Voice Awards also honors writers and producers who incorporate dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of people with behavioral health challenges into film and television productions. Finalists included “Take Shelter” (Sony); “Castle” (ABC); “Glee” (FOX); “Homeland” (Showtime); “Necessary Roughness” (USA); “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC); and “Parenthood” (NBC).