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
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
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.
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
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
View the announcement of Dr.Guislain Award 2012 here.