NEW YORK, Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dr. Guislain Museum and Janssen Research & Development, LLC ("Janssen") today announced that the Center for Victims of Torture has been named the 2018 recipient of the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award. The award honors the Center for Victims of Torture for its extraordinary efforts to reduce stigma about mental illness and provide psychological care and resources to survivors of torture and war trauma across the globe. The Center for Victims of Torture will be honored for its outstanding humanitarian work during a ceremony in New York City on World Mental Health Day, October 10. The Center for Victims of Torture will receive a $50,000 prize that must be used toward further work to reduce societal stigma about mental health and provide psychological care and resources to survivors of torture and war trauma.
"The Center for Victims of Torture has made a profound impact on thousands of lives globally by providing care to individuals and communities that have senselessly been affected by torture and war trauma," said Brother Dr. René Stockman, Chairman of the Dr. Guislain Museum. "It's a privilege to provide this award to an organization that is committed to not only provide resources to these individuals, but also reduce stigma by normalizing mental illness within communities and families."
According to the Center for Victims of Torture, there are approximately 1.3 million refugee torture survivors in the United States and millions more around the world. Torture and war trauma have tremendous psychological and physiological impact on individuals, often resulting in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder. The Center for Victims of Torture provides services and support to these survivors with the goal of reducing psychological symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, depression and anxiety, and improving function by helping survivors meet basic needs, re-establish social connections and get involved with their communities.
"This award honors every member of the Center for Victims of Torture family in every one of our locations around the world, including not only our dedicated staff, but also our selfless volunteers, board members, supporters, advisory council members and tireless advocates who stand with us to eliminate torture," said Curt Goering, Center for Victims of Torture executive director. "Our clients – and all survivors of torture – are at the heart of our work and the forefront of our minds every single day, and we will never stop fighting on their behalf as they navigate their own healing journeys. On their behalf, we are deeply honored to accept the Dr. Guislain Award in recognition of our work."
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.
"We are honored to recognize the outstanding work the Center for Victims of Torture is doing to support and provide resources for victims of torture and war trauma," said Husseini K. Manji, M.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head, Neuroscience, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "Each year, we seek to honor organizations or individuals for their tireless efforts to reduce mental health stigma in communities around the world. The Center for Victims of Torture's extensive work to improve the lives of these individuals is incredibly commendable, vitally important and very inspiring."
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 the Dr. Guislain Museum 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 30 years, the Dr. Guislain Museum has existed to educate the public and rectify the misunderstandings and prejudice associated with treatment for mental illness.
The Dr. Guislain Award program is a joint project of the Dr. Guislain Museum and Janssen Research & Development, LLC. Janssen provides financial and in-kind support for the program. Janssen's sponsorship of this award reflects its 60-year commitment to advance care for patients with mental illness. The Award is an important component of the Champions of Science: 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.
The Dr. Guislain Museum issued the call for nominations for the Dr. Guislain "Breaking the Chains of Stigma" Award on February 27, 2018. A total of 35 nominations were received from across the globe, after which a jury of international mental health advocates and renowned authorities in the field selected the Center for Victims of Torture.
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 health care in the broadest sense on a cultural and/or social level;
- provided a genuine contribution to decreasing stigma around mental health conditions;
- promoted attention for mental health care; and
- done all this with passion, creativity and innovation.
The jury is comprised of:
- Mohan Agashe – Actor, psychiatrist and member of Governing and Executive Council at Children Film Society of India
- Ellen Baxter – Founder of Broadway Housing Communities (BHC) in New York, New York
- Siri Hustvedt – Essayist, novelist and poet
- Vikram Patel – Pershing Square professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
- Bernard Sabbe – Professor of medical psychology and psychiatry at the University of Antwerp, and psychiatrist/psychotherapist at the University Psychiatric Hospital Duffel
- Andrew Scull – Distinguished Professor of sociology and science studies at the University of California, San Diego
- Erik Thys – Professor at the KU Leuven and psychiatrist in the University Psychiatric Centre at the KU Leuven in Kortenberg and the Psycho-Social Centre St. Alexius Ixelles in Brussels, Belgium
About the Dr. Guislain Museum
The Dr. Guislain Museum was founded in 1986 in Ghent, Belgium, and its exhibits address the history of psychiatry in a permanent collection and through a series of 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 Dr. Guislain Museum attracts 70,000 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.
Dr. Guislain Museum
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Yoon Hee Lamot
Dr. Guislain Museum
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SOURCE Dr. Guislain Museum