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2017 Conference Awards

2017 Conference Logo


Each year, Mental Health America (MHA) recognizes outstanding work in the field by its affiliates, young people and adult mental health consumers. All award recipients will be honored during events held at Mental Health America’s 2017 Annual Conference, June 14-16, in Washington, DC.

2017 Award Winners

the Clifford W. Beers Award


Brandon Staglin is a schizophrenia survivor and Director of Marketing and Communications for both Staglin Family Vineyard and One Mind Institute. He serves on the Board of Directors of One Mind and One Mind Institute. In addition to producing webcasts, blogging and public speaking to excite the public about neuroscience and early intervention, he serves on the steering committee for Stanford University’s Prodrome and Early Psychosis Program Network, and is a Stability Leader in The Stability Network. He has received several advocacy awards, including the SAMHSA VOICE Award for Lifetime Achievement. Brandon currently is collaborating with the Steinberg Institute to orchestrate a California-wide learning healthcare network of early treatment centers for behavioral illness.


the mPower Award


Nadia Ghaffari is a junior at Los Altos High School with a passion for empowering children and teenagers. She is the founder of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and the author of the children's book Growing a Brain. Nadia was inspired to start a peer movement to build a community of compassionate teens and mental health activists who are educated on how to be well and prioritize wellness, after her own experience with aiding in the prevention of a close friend's suicide. Over the past year, she has lead a team of over 20 teens from around the world and worked closely with them on various initiatives and campaigns for The site currently has video responses from teens locally in the Bay Area, across the US, and from over 20 different countries, who discuss their stories of growing from failure, facing difficulty with a hopeful mindset, implementing wellness strategies to relieve stress, and discovering their own versions of happiness. acts as a global peer-to-peer forum where teens can interact with each other through videos, learn from each other’s' experiences, access a huge variety of professional resources, and inspire each other to stay hopeful and resilient.


the George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney Social Work Award

Kate M

Kate Mahoney is the Executive Director of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kate is a both a clinician and advocate. She is past president of both the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health and the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment. Kate also represented Illinois on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence for nine years. Kate has earned awards from the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, Mental Health America – North Shore, and the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.



Media Awards

Gemma C

Gemma Correll is a writer, artist and cartoonist. Originally from England, she currently resides in Oakland, California with her trusty pug sidekicks, Mr Pickles and Bella. Gemma’s published works include The Worrier’s Guide to Life, The Feminist Activity Book and A Pug’s Guide to Etiquette, as well as her award-winning eponymous series of quirky, humorous greetings cards and gift products which are sold all over the world. Gemma is particularly well known for her comics about mental health in collaboration with charities including Mental Health America. Her comics appear regularly on, and weekly in The Observer Magazine (UK). More info at




Ben S

Ben Selkow is an award-winning independent filmmaker, widely known for his 2007 film A SUMMER IN THE CAGE about bipolar disorder – that has been screened extensively in mental health settings around the country. The film won an MHA award in 2009 and was nominated for the PRISM Bipolar Depiction Award. Ben is also the director, producer and cinematographer for BURIED ABOVE GROUND (2015), his latest documentary film that explores the harrowing stories of three Americans living with the burdens of PTSD. The film follows a combat-wounded Army Captain returning from Iraq with a Purple Heart, a native New Orleanian survivor of Hurricane Katrina, and a lifelong domestic violence survivor. With their three stories, BURIED ABOVE GROUND takes the realities of living with PTSD out of the shadows, allowing audiences to experience the emotional, societal, and financial costs of this mental health epidemic. Ben was a Mental Health Journalism Fellow at the Carter Center (2010-2011).



Jaclyn C

Jaclyn Cosgrove is a reporter for The Oklahoman, and writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. Jaclyn is a recipient of the 2015-16 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Jaclyn’s project is focused on low-income, uninsured Oklahomans diagnosed with mental illness and substance use disorders. She is also a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. She authored "Epidemic Ignored" a yearlong investigation into Oklahoma’s mental health system.



David S

David Solomon is the Executive Producer at WQED Multimedia, the PBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, overseeing much of the station’s award-winning programming. Solomon is recognized for his work on some of WQED’s most compelling documentaries, with a special expertise in mental health issues, including the nationally-distributed “Long Road Home” (2011) which chronicled veterans coping with PTSD; “Losing Lambert: A Journey through Survival and Hope” (2009), which explored teen suicide; “Rose’s Garden: Surviving My Mother’s Mental Illness” (2012), detailing the impact on families; and “Dixmont” (2004) is a history of the landmark state hospital in Pittsburgh named for mental health advocate Dorothea Dix. Most recently, he produced Before Stage 4: Confronting Early Psychosis. Solomon has earned 29 Emmy® Awards, three national Gabriel Awards, two national CINE Golden Eagle Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards in the New York/Pennsylvania region, three Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Awards, and ten Golden Quill Awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.


One Day At A Time


One Day at a Time is a Netflix-original comedy-drama, inspired by Norman Lear's 1975 series of the same name. The new series follows the life of Penelope, a single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family. The series offers a contemporary take on life, and successful incorporated into its first season storylines on depression, mental illness medication and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).




Innovation in Programming Award


The Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) is a not-for-profit organization that addresses mental health needs in New York City and across the nation. MHA-NYC's national program scope includes the NFL Lifeline and our subsidiary Link2Health Solutions, which manages the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Disaster Distress Helpline. Through its three-part mission of service, advocacy and education, MHA-NYC identifies unmet needs and develop culturally sensitive programs to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness while promoting the importance of mental health. MHA-NYC is the first organization in the country to offer evidence-based online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with live telephone, text and chat supports. With this innovative program, MHA-NYC not only tackled the problems of delays in access to care but also the shortage of clinicians trained to deliver CBT for a range of common behavioral health conditions.


Legislator Awards

Chris MurphyDr. Bill Cassidy is the United States Senator for Louisiana. Bill grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for undergraduate and Medical School. For nearly three decades, Bill has provided care for uninsured and underinsured patients in Louisiana’s charity hospital system. During this time, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees. In 1990, Bill joined LSU Medical School teaching medical students and residents at Earl K. Long hospital, a hospital for the uninsured. In 2006, Bill was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. In 2008, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District. In the U.S. House, Bill served on the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 2014, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Health Education Labor & Pensions (HELP), Energy and Natural Resources, Finance, Veterans Affairs and Joint Economic Committees.

Chris MurphySenator Christopher S. Murphy is the junior United States Senator for Connecticut. Elected in 2012, Murphy serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Murphy served Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District for three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Fifth District includes the towns of Danbury, Meriden, New Britain, Torrington, and Waterbury. During his three terms, Murphy served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Financial Services. Before his service in the U.S. Congress, Murphy served for eight years in the Connecticut General Assembly. He spent four years representing Southington and the 81st district in the House, and then spent four years representing the 16th Senatorial District, which includes the towns of Waterbury, Wolcott, Cheshire and Southington. While in the Senate, he served as the Chairman of the Public Health Committee. Senator Murphy grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and attended Williams College in Massachusetts. In 2002, he graduated from UConn Law School in Hartford, Connecticut. He practiced real estate and banking law from 2002-2006 with the firm of Ruben, Johnson & Morgan in Hartford.

Tim Murphy

Congressman Tim Murphy is currently serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Murphy was first elected to the House in November 2002 to represent Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, encompassing the South Hills of Pittsburgh including portions of Allegheny, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Murphy also currently serves as a Commander in the United States Navy Reserves. For the 115th Congress, Murphy will continue his role as Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations (O&I), and will serve on three additional subcommittees: Subcommittee on Health, Subcommittee on Energy, Subcommittee on Environment. Murphy will also continue his role as Co-Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus.

The only practicing psychologist in elected federal government, Dr. Murphy relies on four decades of experience to advocate for meaningful reforms in the U.S. healthcare system. Serving as co-chair of the Mental Health Caucus and a founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, he focuses on policies to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for all families.

EBJCongresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is in her thirteenth term in Congress representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas. In December of 2010, Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. Within these roles, Congresswoman Johnson continues to emphasize the need to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In addition to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, she is also a current member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She has served on this committee since being elected to Congress in 1992 making her the highest-ranking Texan on the committee. She also serves on the Aviation Subcommittee, the Highways and Transit Subcommittee and the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. As a longtime advocate for improved psychiatric treatment, Congresswoman Johnson co-lead and co-authored H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, provisions of which were included in the 21st Century Cures Act which was signed into law in December of 2016.


MHA Press Release on 2017 Award Winners



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