nominate candidate


The Center for Victims of Torture, 2018


The Center for Victims of Torture was the first rehabilitation center for torture and war trauma survivors in the U.S. and remains one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. The organization started as a local program in St. Paul, Minnesota, thanks to the leadership of the state's governor, during a period when tens of thousands of refugees were arriving from Southeast Asia. In 1999, the programs expanded internationally to reach survivors living in very difficult conditions in other countries, where they do not have access to mental health counseling and other resources as they do in the U.S.

Over the past five years, the number of individuals to whom the Center for Victims of Torture extends rehabilitative care (including domestically and internationally) has grown from just over 2,000 in 2013 to more than 4,400 in 2017. In its more than 30 years of operation, the Center for Victims of Torture has rebuilt the lives and restored the hope of nearly 36,000 survivors and touched the lives of many hundreds of thousands more through policy advocacy that generates federal funding for survivor rehabilitation in the U.S. and abroad.

Sotheara Chhim, 2017

Sotheara _Chhim _klein

Dr. Sotheara Chhim has been named the 2017 winner of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award. The award honors Dr. Chhim for his extraordinary efforts developing mental health services in Cambodia through scientific therapeutic approaches and launching the Operation Unchain initiative, a program designed to break the stigma of mental illness.

Dr. Chhim is the executive director and senior consultant psychiatrist of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Cambodia, the country's leading Non-Government Organization (NGO) in the field of mental health care and psychosocial support. Under his leadership, TPO Cambodia has developed and implemented programs to raise awareness about psychosocial and mental health conditions in many parts of Cambodia. Dr. Chhim and TPO have also provided mental health counselling, treatment, and specialized services for prisoners, gender-based violence survivors and torture survivors. To date, more than 220,000 patients and families have benefitted from his and his team's work.

View video of the inauguration here.

Dr. Chantharavady Coulamany, 2016

Dr. Chantharavady Coulamany has been selected as the 2016 winner of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award. As only one of two qualified psychiatrists in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), a country of more than 6 million people, Dr. Chantharavady Choulamany has dedicated her life to increasing access to mental health services and developing education programs to treat and improve understanding of mental illness. She is Program Manager in her country for BasicNeeds, an international, non-governmental, mental-health focused organization.

Dr. Choulamany has worked to address mental health issues and needs in her country with a uniquely successful approach. She works with all levels of government, advocating for better treatment services, more funding and pushing for more trained health professionals. She has also provided training to Buddhist monks to help care for people with mental illness through counseling and prayer. More than 8,000 patients and family members have already benefited directly from Dr. Choulamany's work.

View video of the inauguration here.

Janos Marton, 2015

Janos Marton, director of The Living Museum in New York, has been named the 2015 winner of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Marton has fostered an environment of artistic expression at The Living Museum located within the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. At The Living Museum, people with mental illness are encouraged to transform their experiences to artistic expression, a shift that can have profound implications for a patient's overall well-being. Driven by a desire to empower his patients, Dr. Marton is the curator of the largest collection of art by people living with a mental illness in the United States.

Through The Living Museum, Dr. Marton has positively impacted the lives of many patients, volunteers, students, artists and mental health professionals. To date, this concept of creating an artistic atmosphere for mental health patients has sparked similar creative centers regionally and globally, from Long Island to Switzerland to Holland.   

View a fragment of his speech here.


Robin Hammond, 2014

Robin Hammond, a documentary photographer and filmmaker, has been selected as the 2014 winner of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award for his striking photojournalism that exposes the mistreatment of mentally ill people in African nations in crisis. Mr. Hammond's photography of mentally ill people in nations such as the South Sudan, Liberia and Uganda document the struggles faced by patients with brain disorders in many developing nations. The resulting images, many of which are striking and unsettling, have been published in a photo book entitled, "CONDEMNED-Mental Health in African Countries in Crisis." Hammond was named the recipient of the 2014 Pictures of the Year International World Understanding Award for the project. Mr. Hammond delivers lectures throughout the world on the effects of stigma and the need to advocate for these patients.

Robin Hammond


Matrika Devkota, 2013

Matrika Devkota, the Nepalese founder of the organization Koshish, has been selected as the 2013 winner of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award for his tireless work to fight stigma by empowering those suffering from mental illness to serve as self-advocates. Mr. Devkota founded Koshish in 2004, after he recognized the need for a community support organization that promoted the rights of mental health patients. The word "koshish" means "making an effort" in Nepalese and the organization makes an effort to mainstream mental health and psychosocial disabilities. The organization frequently serves as a lobbyist on behalf of those suffering from mental illness, and seeks to improve policy and public perception surrounding these conditions, while empowering patients to act as self-advocates.

Koshish is a nongovernmental organization registered in the District ofKathmandu, with the approval of the Nepal Social Welfare Council in 2008. NGO support for mental illness is crucial in Nepal, as less than 1 percent of government spending is allocated for mental health treatment.

view video inauguration here.

inauguration 2013_2 


Bagus Utomo, 2012

The Indonesian Bagus Utomo, who was motivated by his brother's mental illness, has been selected as the winner of the first Dr. Guislain Award in 2012. Bagus Utomo provide resources about and fight stigma associated with schizophrenia through his organization Komunitas Peduli Skizofrenia Indonesia (Indonesia Community Care for Schizophrenia), or KPSI.

KPSI is an organization that provides online information about schizophrenia and community support for patients and their families.

View the announcement of Dr.Guislain Award 2012 here.

Bagus Utomo


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