SAMHSA Bulletin

Date: 2/1/2013 10:40 AM
Media Contact: SAMHSA Press Office
Telephone: 240-276-2130

SAMHSA Recognizes Team of Behavioral Health Advocates as Champions of Resilience and Recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched the Voice Awards Fellowship Program -- a pilot project designed to give consumer/peer leaders in the behavioral health community the skills they need to shape public perceptions of mental health and substance use recovery through storytelling.


SAMHSA officials and consumer/peer organizations recognize the Voice Awards Fellowship Program’s potential to promote social inclusion in the workplace, in schools, and in communities nationwide. Empowering advocates to share their stories is an invaluable way to educate the public about the real experiences of people with behavioral health problems. It also shows that people do recover and lead full and meaningful lives in their communities.


The Voice Awards Fellows, a team of eight behavioral health advocates from across the Nation, will share their stories of recovery and resilience using a variety of communications vehicles over a 12-month time frame. By sharing each of their stories from their individual perspective the Fellows will demonstrate that recovery is real, possible, and commonplace.


SAMHSA received Fellowship applications from nearly 40 individuals, all of whom had very compelling stories and exhibited a strong commitment to advocate for behavioral health. Fellows were selected based on their story, their potential to demonstrate a larger truth about behavioral health, and their comfort level sharing their story publicly. The 2012-2013 class of Fellows includes the following members:


·         Eric Arauz (East Brunswick, NJ)

·         Karen Curlis (Akron, OH)

·         Katherine Heart (West Mifflin, PA)

·         Kevin Hines (Walnut Creek, CA)

·         Clarence Jordan (Cordova, TN)

·         Kranti Kripakaran (Springfield, IL)

·         Jennifer Matesa (Pittsburgh, PA)

·         Stephen Puibello (Cliffside Park, NJ)

Visit for more information about the Voice Awards Fellowship Program. To join the conversation about the Voice Awards, like SAMHSA on Facebook at and follow @samhsagov and #VoiceAwards on Twitter.

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Last updated: 2/1/2013 10:51 AM

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