PRISM Awards recognize best portayals of mental health issues in film, music, TV | Behavioral Healthcare Executive Skip to content Skip to navigation

PRISM Awards recognize best portayals of mental health issues in film, music, TV

May 9, 2011
by News release
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Los Angeles — The Black Swan, The Fighter, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, Nurse Jackie are among the productions that were recognized at the 15th Annual PRISM Awards, which are produced by the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and FX. The Prism Awards honor actors, movies, music, media and television’s top shows that accurately depict and bring attention to substance abuse and mental health issues, including prevention, treatment and recovery.

“The PRISM Awards are proof positive that the entertainment industry understands these issues are important and that the creative community understands the impact on the viewing public of researching their portrayals for authenticity,” said Brian Dyak, President and CEO of EIC.

Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Black Swan received the top award in the Feature Film - Mental Health category; Paramount Pictures’ The Fighter was recognized in the Feature Film - Substance Use category.

In the television categories, AMC’s Mad Men was singled out in the Drama Series Episode - Substance Use category; Grey’s Anatomy for Drama Series Episode - Mental Health; Nurse Jackie and Rescue Me for Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Substance Use; Parenthood for Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline – Mental Health; and Drop Dead Diva for Comedy Series Episode.

Performance winners included Peter Krause, Monica Potter and Max Burkholder for Parenthood; KaDee Strickland for Private Practice; Tony Denison for The Closer; Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad; Halle Berry for Frankie & Alice; Toni Collette for United States of Tara; and Claire Danes for Temple Grandin.

On hand to participate were R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and Pamela Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"Drug use harms every part of our society that is vital to a strong America," said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Drug use has stolen away incredible talent, torn apart families, and destroyed local communities. The good news is that we are not powerless against this problem. I commend the winners of the PRISM awards for using the power of storytelling to highlight the seriousness of the drug problem and what we can do to make America healthier and safer."

“Tonight we honor and highlight the highest level of commitment to depicting true human emotion, struggle, bravery and resilience in the face of mental illness and substance abuse,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, JD. “It is encouraging to see more and more productions portray the triumph of treatment and recovery with accuracy and sensitivity. These portrayals dispel myths and educate the public about the hope, promise and reality of recovery.”

Singer/song writer Richie Supa received The Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein Recovery Advocacy Award for his work with Narcotics Anonymous for the past 22 years and his other extensive involvement with recovery programs. The award was presented by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (American Idol).

The CBS daytime television series The Bold and the Beautiful received the inaugural PRISM LUNGevity Award in recognition of its authentic portrayal of lung cancer. The new award was created in partnership with the LUNGevity Foundation to encourage accurate depictions of lung cancer—its diagnosis, symptoms, effects, and treatment - in movies and television programs.

Honorees for the PRISM Awards are selected by an 80-person committee of entertainment industry professionals and technical experts from the fields of medicine, mental health, and addiction. A complete list of award recipients will be available at and