Department of Human Services | Council on Mental Health Stigma Honors Members of the Media with 2014 Mental Health Ambassador Awards
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Recipients Recognized for Excellence in Media Coverage during Ceremony Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe
MONROE – The Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma today recognized twelve members of the media for their efforts to raise awareness about mental illness and dispel the myths surrounding it.  The awards honor news coverage, feature coverage and public service programming that is committed to promoting respect and support for people who live with mental illness. 
 
 
“The media plays a critical role in forming public perception about mental illness, and the recipients of these awards today have worked to make sure that perception is fair and does not perpetuate any negative stigma,” said Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, within which the Council is situated.

Council chairwoman Sylvia Axelrod also thanked the recipients for their judgment and sensitivity.

“All the news outlets, editors, producers and media professionals that are recognized demonstrated outstanding insight and sensitivity in their coverage of issues related to mental health and mental illness. They advanced the interests of people affected by mental illness through their articles, feature stories and broadcasts. They educated the public, encouraged people to seek the help if needed and inspired communities to provide support and understanding for those affected by mental illness,” Axelrod said. “They set an example for providing media coverage related to mental health issues that dispels myths and combats the pervasive stigma that too often surrounds mental illness.”

Each recipient received a congratulatory letter from Governor Chris Christie, who praised the efforts of the awardees to de-stigmatize mental illness and encourage people to seek treatment and recovery.

The following news organizations, editors, producers, reporters and other media professionals were awarded for the insight and sensitivity shown in reporting on mental health issues:

• NJTV News
• Steve Adubato, NJTV News Contributor
• David Matthau, Reporter, 101.5 FM
• Jessica D'Amico, Managing Editor, Greater Media Newspapers
• Paul Grzella, General Manager/Editor, Courier News
• Kelly Ebbels, Community Editor, The Montclair Times
• Columnist Euna Kwon Brossman
• Christopher DePatria, Singpost Inc.
• Sino Monthly New Jersey
• Sunita Sohrabji, Reporter, India-West
• Michael Skinner, Writer/Editor of Surviving Spirit
• Larry Cartwright, Radio Host, Mental Health Matters

Awardee Steve Adubato also moderated a panel discussion entitled: The Media: A Powerful Tool in Recovery.

The projects involved in these awards include: a cutting edge automated contest to raise awareness of mental illness through social media; a five-part radio program about children confronting mental illness; ongoing coverage oversight by a general manager committed to balanced portrayals of mental illness; coverage of a family dealing with suicide and of post-partum depression in the Indian American population; a New Jersey based monthly magazine that increases mental health awareness among the Chinese American population; a reporter who focused on the stigma suffered by many people struggling with mental illness; a consumer who has used written and spoken words as well as song to promote awareness; an internet radio host and advocate who continually focuses on mental health and resources; a community editor who launched an on-going series of feature articles dedicated to mental health; a weekly columnist who tried to educate the press and the public about mental health and suicide prevention; and a television station that often provides a platform to de-stigmatize mental illness.

The Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma was created by executive order in 2004 to combat mental health stigma as a top priority in New Jersey's effort to create a better mental health system.
 

 
 
 
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