2018 Change Maker Awards

Vote for a Hero

The Change Maker Awards celebrate people and organizations that are creating real, meaningful change for children struggling with mental health and learning disorders. From the professionals putting in long hours for the children and families they serve to the advocates bringing mental health awareness to the national stage, our honorees inspire us with their passion for changing the way we understand and treat our children.

We also invite you to learn more about our 20152016, and 2017 Change Makers.

Vote in any or all of the 3 award categories, then submit at the bottom of the page.

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Voting Ends on Friday, March 23


People’s Choice Award

Presented to an individual whose commitment to raising awareness, helping children and families directly, or advocating for change in the mental health care system is held in the highest esteem by clients, colleagues, and the community.

Select one nominee in each category

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Tricia and Kurt Baker


Tricia and Kurt established Attitudes in Reverse (AIR™) shortly after losing their son to suicide. They immediately embarked on a mission to eliminate stigma and to encourage people to seek help when needed. Since 2011, they have spoken with more than 63,000 middle, high school and college students about mental health and suicide prevention. They also created a powerful In Their Shoes™ exhibit that augments this educational program. It builds empathy and understanding by sharing thoughts that go through the minds of individuals who are struggling. https://attitudesinreverse.org/

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Nicole Hockley


Nicole is a Founder and Managing Director for Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). After the tragic death of her son Dylan, one of 20 first-graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Nicole is focused on bringing people together in honest dialogue and searching for innovative solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, community building and gun safety. To date, SHP has educated and trained over 2.5 million youths, teens, and adults in all 50 states. Her passionate work has resulted in the prevention of multiple school shooting plots and several teen suicides, as well as other violent acts. https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

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Scilla Andreen


The founder of the IndieFlix Foundation, Scilla believes film and stories are the most powerful medium on the planet. Her mission is to use film to start movements that can change the world for the better. Scilla joined forces with producing partner Karin Gornick to produce Angst, a 56 minute documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety and open up the conversation about mental health. Angst screens in schools, corporations and communities in order to have meaningful impact and to foster a more social, emotional, empathetic community from the classroom to the board room. Indieflixfoundation.org; Angstmovie.com

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Gary Altheim


Gary founded Growth and Development Services, Inc. (GDS) and Camp Excel in 1996 to serve vulnerable, at-risk youth from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Northern Manhattan and New York City. GDS helps address the burdens of family instability, violence, mental health and learning disabilities. Young adults from this marginalized community participate in the year-round Excel Program, a comprehensive, holistic approach that provides counseling, mentoring, arts, wellness, educational guidance and college/job readiness.  excelgds.org or garyaltheimpsyd.com

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Randi Silverman


In 2016, Randi co-founded The Youth Mental Health Project, a nonprofit organization which seeks to empower families and communities to act with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to support the social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health of youth. Randi used her real-life experiences as a parent of a child with a mental health disorder to write and produce NO LETTING GO, which has received critical acclaim from film reviewers and mental health organizations alike, winning over 20 awards at independent film festivals worldwide.  http://ymhproject.org/

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Rosalie Whitlock


Rosalie is a tireless advocate for kids and families. She is the transformational Executive Director of Children’s Health Council (CHC), a Northern California nonprofit which provides education and clinical services for children, teens and young adults with attention and learning differences and the anxiety and depression that often accompany them. CHC employs innovative and collaborative practices to reduce stigma around these conditions and assure that all kids, teens and young adults have a chance to reach their full promise and potential. CHC provides direct education and clinical assistance to approximately 1,800 families each year and serves another 1,500 participants through a robust community education and engagement program. https://www.chconline.org/

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Outstanding Organization Award

Presented to an organization providing unparalleled mental health support for children and adolescents and the professionals who work to help them.

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American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

The mission of AACAP is to promote the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families through advocacy, education, and research, and to meet the professional needs of child and adolescent psychiatrists throughout their careers. http://www.aacap.org/

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Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

ADAA is an international nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, stigma-reduction and research. These commitments drive ADAA’s promise to find new treatments and one day prevent and cure these disorders. https://adaa.org/

ADAA provides free educational resources and helps people find treatment, information and support.  ADAA strives to improve patient care by promoting the implementation of evidence-based treatments and best practices across disciplines through continuing education and trainings and accelerating dissemination of research into practice.


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Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF)

Since 1987, BBRF has been committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding scientific research grants to improve treatment and ultimately develop cures and methods of prevention to enable people with mental health issues to live full, happy, and productive lives. http://www.bbrfoundation.org

BBRF supports innovative research studies that offer the potential for breakthrough discoveries for disorders including addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia. The Foundation also educates the public about mental health and research, including the impact that new discoveries have on improving the lives of those with mental illness.


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Common Sense Media

Common Sense is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. https://www.commonsense.org/

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National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

NCTSN was created by Congress in 2000 to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. Its’ unique network of frontline providers, family members, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice.

NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. NCTSN’s grantees and affiliates provide clinical services, develop and disseminate new interventions and resource materials, offer education and training programs, collaborate with established systems of care, engage in data collection and evaluation, and inform public policy and awareness efforts related to child traumatic stress.


Cast your vote for

Community Builder Award

Presented to an organization that demonstrates outstanding commitment to fostering open conversation and action in child and adolescent mental health.

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Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

DBSA is the leading peer-directed national organization focused on depression and bipolar disorder, which together affect more than 21 million Americans and account for 90% of the nation’s suicides every year. Through extensive online and print resources, nearly 650 support groups and more than 250 chapters, DBSA reaches millions of people each year with in-person and online peer support. http://www.dbsalliance.org/

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JED Foundation (JED)

JED is a nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. JED equips teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other; partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs and systems; and encourages community awareness. https://www.jedfoundation.org/

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International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)

The mission of the International OCD Foundation is to help everyone affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders to live full and productive lives. Its aim is to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them. https://iocdf.org/

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Mental Health America (MHA)

Founded in 1909, MHA is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Their work is driven by a commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

MHA promotes prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.


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To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA)

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery. Since 2006, TWLOHA has responded to over 200,000 messages and has shared more than 1,000 blog posts from contributors who want to let others know that they’re not alone in their pain.  https://twloha.com/