The 17th Annual Prism Awards: Making A Difference in People's Lives



Prism Awards: Michael Cudlitz of Southland

The audience in the Crystal Ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the site of the 17th Annual Prism Awards,  hushed as Southland star, Michael Cudlitz, stood at the podium and told how he, in his role of John Cooper, a gay, pain-addicted officer, influenced the life of another very real officer with similar addiction problems.  Michael's honest portrayal of the role encouraged the letter writer to seek help.   Michael's award was given to him by his fellow Southland star, Ben McKenzie aka Ben Sherman. 

This example is just one of the many ways that we as writers, producers, directors and broadcasters educate the public as to the many aspects of mental health - depression, addictions, and other diseases.

Sponsored by the EIC - Entertainment Industries Council, Inc, ” We are a resource for the entertainment community to accurately portray mental health issues," says president, co-founder,  and CEO, Brian Dyak.  "We make it okay to talk about mental health and let people know that help is availabe and effective.  We try to show people how to obtain help and guide those who are struggling. 

The work that the creative community has put forth this year is a clear sign that "storytelling" about mental health and substance abuse  has risen to a level of distinction that is making a difference in the understanding of these complex area of attitude and human behavior. "  Some of these subjects include depression, bi polar disorder, animal care and protection, at risk youth, ADHD, Diabetes. Human Trafficking, Homeland security, firearm safety, intellectual disabilities, lung cancer, PTSD, Women's health, smoking and tobacco use, orphan diseases, aging, and many other topics. 

Prism Awards: Dr. Drew Pinsky

Some of the other awards this year went to Nurse Jackie's season 4 for it's multi episode story line on substance abuse; to Edie Falco as Nurse Jackie,  to Days of Our Lives for the story line of Alzheimer's, Chicago Fire  and Necessary Roughness for their substance abuse stories,  to Go On for their Season One multi episode story on mental health.  Flight, the movie with Denzel Washington, won for substance abuse, Silver Linings Playbook won for bi-polar disease.  Other winners included Mark Harmon, Katey Sagal, Linda Cardellini, American Horror Story, Asylum, Dr. Drew on Call, Rehab with Dr. Drew, Homeland, and Parenthood.  Elementary received the EIC's President Award for it's continuing in-depth integration of substance abuse and recovery into its storyline and characters. 


Prism Awards: Lisa Guerrero, investigative reporter

Present as either presenters or honorees were Nolan Gould, Alison Haislip, Amanda Righetti, Anna Belknap, Amber Wood, Ashley Romeo, Antwon Tanner, Brett Gelman, Carly Steel, Carlos Calvo, Cassie Jordan, Caterina Scorsone, Charles Hirsch, Danielle Nicolette, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Dee Wallace, Danny Arroyo, Ed O'Neill, Ernie Hudson, George Eads, Jacob Diamond, Jeremy London, Jean Smart,  Josh Sussman, Julie White, Kate Linder, Kacey Taylor,  Katie Cassidy, Lisa Guerrero, Lauren Suthers, Kenya Marche, Lauren Potter, Mackenzie Philips, Mariette Hartley, Mark Valley, Max Burkholder, Mechelle Epps, Pamela Bowens, Reno Wilson, Robert Shapiro, Sufe Bradshaw, Shadoe Stevens, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sophia Linkletter, Sophia Strauss, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Tamala Jones, Timothy Woodward Jr, Tyler James  Williams, Valerie Fitzgerald, Victoria Strauss, and Windell Middlebrooks

The Prism Awards, a one of a kind event, is the only televised award show that addresses the social concerns of the public interest and CalMHSA provides tools for the entertainment industry with guides, and suggestions for complex and authentic stories, which can be a catalyst for change. 

Prism Awards: President Bryan Dyak and Kathryn Goetzke of iFred

The sunflower center pieces, donated by iFred Foundation. "This center for the understanding of depression and suicidal feelings has help many people with the coping of this too often hidden and non spoken disease," says spokeswoman Kathryn Goetzke.  "Too many people regard depression as being shameful and refuse to talk about it, or admit they have it, which often causes it to worsen."  iFred stands for the International Foundation for Research on Depression. (


For storytellers looking for information, they can contact Ashley Jupin , [email protected], or go to  The phone is 818 861 7782 or 703 481 1414

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