Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services hosted its 24th Erasing the Stigma Awards as a virtual event on April 23, 2020 to raise funds and awareness for its mental health, substance use and suicide prevention services. The campaign included several online activities that helped us stay connected to our donors, supporters and mental health heroes. Thanks to their support, we raised nearly $560,000 and have continued to make our lifesaving services available to the community.




The 24th annual Erasing the Stigma Awards became a virtual event, featuring a video from our 2020 honorees: PEOPLE and its Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford, suicide prevention advocate Talinda Bennington and Emmy Award-winning news anchor Christine Devine. It also includes messages from Didi Hirsch leadership: Christopher J. Harrer, Chair of the Board of Directors and Erasing the Stigma Awards Committee; Kita S. Curry, PhD, President and CEO; and Melissa Rivers, Board member and Awards emcee.


The 2020 Erasing the Stigma Awards Honorees are:

Dan Wakeford / PEOPLE
Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford created a year-long mental health initiative, “Let’s Talk About It” to encourage readers to engage in conversations about mental health. Board member Melissa Rivers, who contributed a Why I Care column to PEOPLE, presented him with the Beatrice Stern Media Award.

Christine Devine
Veteran news anchor with 16 Emmys has covered mental health issues extensively throughout her career with sensitivity and insight. CBS anchor Pat Harvey presented her with the Leadership Award

Talinda Bennington
Suicide prevention advocate launched 320 Changes Direction in honor of late husband, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization presented her with the Mental Health Ambassador Award


Click here to see presenter / honoree videos



We launched a social media activity that encouraged supporters to erase stigma while also taking care of their own health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge asks participants to write the word STIGMA on their hand and to wash it away—thereby #ErasingTheStigma and #StoppingTheSpread. CLICK HERE to learn how to take the challenge and to view more handwashing videos.


Click here to see more Handwashing videos




In this inspiring video, see how Didi Hirsch transformed the lives of two generations of women: Marie Chacon, a former client at our residential treatment center for women struggling with addictions and other challenges, and her now-adult daughter, Christina Ortiz, a therapist at our Suicide Prevention Center.




Working from the frontlines of the pandemic, Didi Hirsch’s mental health professionals are also Mental Health Heroes who created these short videos to provide tips and advice that anyone can use to improve mental health.


Click here to see more Frontline videos




Alex Boye, our former Mental Health Ambassador, performed at a live-streamed concert on Facebook to raise funds and awareness for our Erasing the Stigma Campaign. He was joined by up-and-coming pop artist, Alex Freeman, a 13-year-old girl from Utah, who performed an original song written in memory of a teacher who died by suicide.


Board Member Melissa Rivers and Didi Hirsch supporter/actor Nick Gehlfuss raised funds and awareness for our campaign by hosting Instagram Live events. Melissa spoke to Senior Vice President Lyn Morris about mental health issues during the pandemic while Nick spoke to veteran crisis counselor Sal Pena about how to access help on the Crisis Line. Follow @didi_hirsch on Instagram!