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Media and Entertainment Leaders Honored for Excellence On News Reports, Dramatic Portrayals of Mental Illness

NAMI Presented Outstanding Media Awards at Annual Convention, Providing Stark Contrast to Protests of New Jim Carrey Film

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE, June 16, 2000 (2 p.m.)
Contacts: Mary Rappaport or Peg Nichols 703-524-7600


San Diego, CA - Leading members of the media and entertainment industries were honored tonight for outstanding achievement and excellence by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The national grassroots advocacy organization presented the NAMI Outstanding Media Awards during its 21st Annual Convention being held this week in San Diego.

"This year's honorees stand out as models of leadership and responsibility in the entertainment and media communities," said Mike Connors, who starred in the long-running television series, Mannix, and presented the NAMI awards at a special recognition ceremony tonight. Connors said, "These talented individuals have gone the extra step in presenting accurate, balanced, and sensitive portrayals of mental illness to the American public."

At a time when NAMI has launched a national protest against the new Jim Carrey movie, "Me Myself, and Irene," which will be released June 23, and earlier this year successfully led protests against ABC's now defunct "Wonderland," the organization was particularly pleased to honor ABC's television series, "Once and Again." Produced by Marshall Hershovitz and Edward Zwick, the show has initiated an ongoing plot line about a family's experience with schizophrenia and stigma.

Each year, NAMI recognizes members of the media and entertainment industries who have made outstanding contributions in broadening the awareness of viewers about the true nature of mental illnesses and the recovery that is now possible.

"NAMI salutes these individuals for all they have done in the past year to increase the awareness, understanding, and support of those who have mental illnesses," said NAMI President Jackie Shannon. "We honor them for shedding light on the truths about mental illness, and focusing national attention on the advancements, treatments, and even obstacles faced each and every day by people with mental disorders."

More than 2,000 family members, consumers of mental health services, health care providers, researchers, and business leaders from around the country will attend NAMI's San Diego convention, five days of presentations and workshops focused on the theme "Turning Promise into Practice."

NAMI's Outstanding Media Award Recipients:

  • Outstanding Media Award: Investigative Reporting - Daily Newspaper
    Debbie Cenziper
    , "Broken Trust"
    The Charlotte Observer, January 23-26, 2000
    This award to reporter Debbie Cenziper of The Charlotte Observer is for her thorough examination of North Carolina's lacking mental health system. Ms. Cenziper exposed 35 unreported and/or uninvestigated deaths that have occurred during the past several years in private and public mental health facilities, and a longstanding pattern of the state's failure to provide adequate oversight and protection for its most vulnerable citizens.
  • Outstanding Media Award: Editorial Writing - Daily Newspaper
    Robert Landauer
    , Editorial Writing
    The Oregonian, March 19-24, 2000
    This award to Robert Landauer is for a series of insightful editorials that examined the efforts of public agencies in Multnomah County, Oregon, to treat the indigent mentally ill. His editorials went the extra step by offering concrete recommendations on how to fix the mental health system.
  • Outstanding Media Award: Science Writing - National Newspaper
    Elyse Tanouye
    , "New Weapons in the War on Schizophrenia"
    The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 1999
    This award went to staff writer Elyse Tanouye for her extensive report on scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of schizophrenia and on the array of new effective treatments that are now available for this debilitating disorder.
  • Outstanding Media Award: Feature Reporting - Television Network News
    Geoff Stephens
    , Special Projects Producer, "Awakening"
    Dateline NBC, August 20, 1999
    Geoff Stephens is recognized for this outstanding half-hour Dateline NBC segment, which documented for two years Luca Moylan's story, the inspiring journey of a young man's brave struggle with schizophrenia.
  • Outstanding Media Award: Overall Reporting - News Magazine
    Norman Pearlstine
    , Editor-in-Chief, TIME
    This award is presented to TIME for consistent, balanced reporting during the past year on issues related to mental illness, including important scientific and policy developments. This year, TIME contributed significantly to raising public awareness and encouraging discussion of critical issues arising out of the White House Conference on Mental Health and the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health. NAMI gives special recognition to senior medical/health writer and columnist Christine Gorman; writer James Willwerth for "Working Their Way Back" (November 22, 1999); writer Andrea Sachs for "When Pills Make Sense" (March 20, 2000); and writer John Cloud for "Mental Health Reform" (June 7, 1999).
  • Outstanding Media Award: Educational Programming - Television
    Oprah Winfrey
    , Supervising Producer, "The Explosive Child"
    The Oprah Winfrey Show, February 18, 2000
    This award is given to the Oprah Winfrey Show for its sensitive, yet realistic depiction and discussion of explosive behaviors in children triggered by brain disorders, including bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiance disorder.
  • Outstanding Media Award: Entertainment - Dramatic Series
    Marshall Hershovitz and Edward Zwick
    , Executive Producers
    "Thanksgiving," November 23, 1999 episode
    "Strangers and Brothers," March 13, 2000 episode
    Once & Again, ABC Entertainment
    Marshall Hershovitz and Edward Zwick are recognized for bringing an accurate and respectful portrayal of severe mental illness to the American viewing public. In these episodes of ABC's weekly dramatic series, Once & Again, a new character, Aaron, is introduced as a brother of one of the main characters. Aaron has schizophrenia and his long institutionalization had been kept a dark family secret because of the stigma associated with mental illness.

 


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