PRISM Awards Acknowledge Substance Abuse Portrayals in Cinema

PRISM Awards Acknowledge Substance Abuse Portrayals in Cinema

Each year, the nonprofit organization Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), hosts a prestigious award ceremony for the entertainment industry unlike any other. EIC’s Prism Awards acknowledge works of cinema and other performing arts media for realistically depicting experiences of substance abuse, addiction, and mental disorders. Nominees for the awards are meticulously screened by a panel of 80 judges consisting of entertainment industry professionals and medicine, mental health, and addiction specialists who not only critique the nominations based on entertainment quality, but also on their ability to accurately represent substance abuse and mental health issues.

On April 22, 2010, the movie Crazy Heart was honored as the top feature film to portray substance abuse issues for its impressive representation of a self-destructive country singer who struggles with alcoholism. Actors Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal were also bestowed accolades for their performances in the film. The Soloist, the story of a supremely talented schizophrenic street musician, won for top feature film to accurately portray mental health issues. The Prism Awards recognize those works of art dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues that promote education and knowledge to their viewing audiences. Through their portrayals of the realities of substance addiction and mental disorders, these works of art are delivering a hopeful message that underlines the value of treatment and recovery.

Other Prism awards were received by such television shows as NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit,” “Law and Order,” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother,” HBO’s “The Alzheimer’s Project,” a special episode called “Kids in Rehab” on Nickelodeon’s “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee,” and PBS’s “Betty Ford: The Real Deal.” The television movies on Lifetime called “Natalee Holloway” and “Prayers for Bobby” also took home awards. Actors Rosie O’Donnell for her performance in Lifetime’s television movie “America,” Kevin McKidd from the television show “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Tony Shalhoub and Hector Elizondo for their performances in the television show “Monk.”

EIC was founded in 1983 by leaders in the entertainment industry and continues to connect science and art via the recognition of media forms that support mental health awareness. The Prism Awards began in 1997 and have developed into a celebrated annual event among the Hollywood scene. To learn more, visit EIC’s website at or

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