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Excellence in Mental Health Media to Be Recognized at Austen Riggs Center Event on November 1st



Stockbridge, MA – October 3, 2019 –America is facing a growing crisis in mental health treatment, and one of the greatest forces to fight that crisis is raising public awareness through the media. On Friday, November 1, two outstanding works will be honored with the 2019 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media. The recipients are: 

  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon 
  • Mine 21, a documentary directed by Stephen L. Garrett; produced by Christopher McDonough; and featuring Kelsey Arbuckle and Alexa Fults

In speaking about the award winners, Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, stated, “These are powerful works. Mr. Laymon’s memoir Heavy is compelling, honest, painful, and gritty; and Mine 21 artfully illustrates how a catastrophe can impact an entire community.” 

The Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media was created in 2010 to recognize a select group of professional journalists, writers, and media professionals who create exemplary work that contributes to the public’s understanding of mental health issues. A prestigious recognition, each prize carries an award of $3,000. Past recipients have included Andrew Solomon, Alison Bechdel, Neal Shusterman, the Boston GlobeSpotlight Team, NPR’s Hidden Brain, and many others.

The recipients will speak about and be honored for their work at a special evening event at the Austen Riggs Center on Friday, November 1. The event is free and open to the public and requires registration. 

Event: Austen Riggs Erikson Media Prize Presentation 
Location: Austen Riggs Center, 25 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA
Date: Friday, November 1, 2019
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m. 

RSVP by October 25, 2019 online: www.austenriggs.org/2019MediaPrize; by email: samantha.grzelak@austenriggs.net; or by phone: 413.931.5211

About the Austen Riggs Center

The Austen Riggs Center is a leading psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program that has been serving adults since its founding in 1919. Within an open setting, patients participate in an intensive treatment milieu that emphasizes respectful engagement. Individual psychodynamic psychotherapy is provided four times a week by doctors on staff. The Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center studies individuals in their social contexts through research, training, education, and outreach programs in the local community and beyond. Riggs is consistently ranked a “Best Hospital in Psychiatry” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit www.austenriggs.org.


John Zollinger
Director of Communications

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