GHENT, Belgium, Oct. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. The Dr. Guislain Award program is a joint project of the Museum Dr. Guislain and Janssen Research & Development, LLC. Janssen provides financial and in-kind support for the program. The award winner receives a $50,000 prize that must be used toward further work to reduce societal stigma about mental health and disorders of the brain. Hammond's body of work will be honored today at a ceremony in New York City.
"The Dr. Guislain Award is proud to honor the work of advocates like Mr. Hammond who have illuminated the fight against stigma related to mental illness," said Siri Hustvedt, jury member of the Dr. Guislain Award selection committee and internationally known author of twelve books, including an account of her own neurological illness. "Through the power of photography, Hammond has raised crucial awareness of the challenges faced by people with mental illness in countries were mental health care is under-resourced or nonexistent."
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, a New Zealand native who now lives in Paris, was named the recipient of the 2014 Pictures of the Year International World Understanding Award for the project. These photographs also won second place in the 2014 World Press Photo of the Year awards and will be exhibited in 100 cities throughout the world to an anticipated 3.5 million visitors. Mr. Hammond delivers lectures throughout the world on the effects of stigma and the need to advocate for these patients.
"The goal of my work is to create awareness of and a voice for people with mental illness who have been forgotten by society, and to begin dialogue that will lead to change," said Hammond. "It has been enormously rewarding to experience the outpouring of support for my work on behalf of patients and their loved ones."
Hammond is a past recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Fund for Humanistic Photography and of four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism. His work in Africa won a FotoEvidence Book Award for Documenting Social Injustice, which resulted in the publication of CONDEMNED.
With the aid of several grassroots organizations, Hammond plans to develop a traveling exhibit that will feature new photographs, images from the CONDEMNED book, information on mental illness and anti-stigma messages. The exhibit will be displayed both in nations providing support and those countries most affected by stigma.
"Mr. Hammond's passionate advocacy holds the potential to transform the public perception of these illnesses," said Brother Rene Stockman, general manager of the Museum Dr. Guislain. "To see and experience his work is to understand the ongoing need for mental health activism and education, particularly in the most remote of nations."
The Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award is named for and honors the legacy of Dr. Joseph Guislain (1797-1860), the first Belgian psychiatrist to provide scientifically based treatment for patients with mental illness and a staunch patient advocate. Both Museum Dr. Guislain and Janssen are organizations with a rich heritage and long-standing involvement in the field of mental illness research, treatment and education. For more than 25 years, the Museum has existed to educate the public and rectify the misunderstandings and prejudice associated with treatment for mental illness.
Janssen's sponsorship of this award reflects its more than 50-year commitment to helping find solutions for patients with mental illness. The Award is an important component of the Healthy Minds initiative of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, which aims to encourage collaboration among biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and public-sector partners to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic solutions for diseases and disorders of the brain, as well as support the mental health community and various advocacy organizations and projects.
"Janssen is pleased to recognize the ongoing efforts of Mr. Hammond to document and humanize the struggles of patients with mental illness in disadvantaged nations," said Husseini K. Manji, M.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head for Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "This work is an important step towards a world that fully embraces and accepts those affected by diseases of the brain."
Museum Dr. Guislain issued the call for nominations for the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award on February 20, 2014. More than 25 nominations were received from across the globe, after which a jury of international mental health advocates and renowned authorities in the field deliberated on the winner.
About the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award
Individuals, organizations or projects all over the world that have made an exceptional contribution in dealing with, or promoting the awareness of, mental health care are eligible to receive the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award. The Award is given to an individual(s), organization or project that:
- has made an exceptional contribution to mental healthcare in the broadest sense on a cultural and/or social level;
- has provided a genuine contribution to decreasing stigma around mental health conditions;
- has promoted attention for mental health care; and
- has done all this with passion, creativity and innovation.
The jury is comprised of:
- Mohan Agashe – Actor, psychiatrist, member of Governing and Executive Council at Children Film Society of India
- Lisa Appignanesi – London-based author, former president of English PEN, chair of trustees of the Freud Museum in London
- Siri Hustvedt – Essayist, novelist and poet
- Patrick Kennedy – Former U.S. Congressman and the co-founder/co-chairman of One Mind for Research
- Dr. Alan Leshner – Chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Dr. Bernard Sabbe – Professor of medical psychology and psychiatry at University of Antwerp, and psychiatrist/psychotherapist at Sint-Norbertus Psychiatric Hospital in Duffel
About Museum Dr. Guislain
The Museum Dr. Guislain was founded in 1986 in Ghent, Belgium, and its exhibits address the history of psychiatry in a permanent collection and through a series of half-yearly changing thematic exhibitions. The Museum features an array of psychiatric photographs, two centuries of comprehensive archives and an extensive library chronicling the history of psychiatry. Comprehensively, the Museum seeks to educate the public and rectify the misunderstandings and prejudice associated with treatment for mental illness. The Museum Dr. Guislain attracts 65,000 visitors each year.
About Dr. Joseph Guislain
Dr. Joseph Guislain (1797-1860) was a driven activist for patients with mental illness and the first Belgian psychiatrist to provide scientifically-based treatment for these individuals. As a passionate advocate for those with mental illness, Dr. Guislain worked tirelessly to stand up for the rights of patients and help improve their social position. He lectured and published extensively about mental illness and enjoyed considerable recognition by his contemporaries.
For more information, about the Dr. Guislain Award, please visit www.drguislainaward.org.
Museum Dr. Guislain
SOURCE Museum Dr. Guislain