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`This emotional life` honored at voice awards ceremony for contribution to mental health understanding


Last night, This Emotional Life, a PBS documentary series that explores social relationships and human happiness, received a 2010 Voice Award at a ceremony sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Co-produced by Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions and the NOVA/WGBH Science Unit, This Emotional Life was honored for its respectful and accurate portrayal of people with mental illnesses. Past winners include programs ranging from Autism: The Musical to 'The Sopranos' and 'Grey's Anatomy.' This year's awards paid special tribute to programming that has brought national attention to the stories of sacrifice, resilience, and recovery among American men and women in uniform and their families.

The filmmakers from Kunhardt McGee Productions capture the struggles of ordinary people, including three veterans who face the physical, mental, and emotional challenges related to their wartime service. This Emotional Life is available on DVD through ShopPBS.org and can also be downloaded from iTunes.

'The series looks at the latest, cutting-edge biological and social science to help us better understand what drives our emotions and what can lead us to happiness,' said Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer, NOVA/WGBH Science Unit and co-producer. 'We've been fortunate in this project to tap some of the best experts who deal with the serious conditions many Americans face, for help in learning how to improve our lives.'

As an extension of the award-winning documentary, Vulcan Productions has worked with leading experts to create a handbook and DVD for military families. Early estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs indicate that 15 to 20 percent of service men and women currently in combat will return to the United States suffering from symptoms related to combat stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder. While this is difficult for the service member, it is equally challenging for their loved ones.

'We developed this multimedia guide to give tangible resources and tools to help families and friends of service members face the emotional challenges before, during, and after deployment,' explained Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss, Director, Vulcan Productions.

In addition to the military family handbook, English and Spanish versions of Early Moments Matter, the This Emotional Life handbook focusing on early childhood attachment, are now in distribution at hospitals and community centers around the country. In January, a version with information specifically tailored to military families will be released.

The series is also complemented by a content-rich Web site, www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife. The Web site provides expert-vetted resources and opportunities to build social support networks around topics highlighted in the series, including PTSD and early attachment, as well as how to heal strained or damaged relationships, stress, depression, grief, resilience, and our pursuit of happiness.

About the Project Partners:

Vulcan Productions is the independent film production company founded by investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen in 1997. Vulcan Productions devotes itself exclusively to producing independent films of unique vision and artistic quality. Through its collaborative partnerships with established and emerging filmmakers, Vulcan Productions explores creative opportunities that result in engaging and inspirational story telling. www.vulcanproductions.com

NOVA/WGBH Science Unit WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS' prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle and children's programs and many public radio favorites. One of its premier programs, NOVA, is a production of the NOVA/WGBH Science Unit. Now in its 36th year of broadcasting, NOVA is the most popular science series on American television and is seen in more than 100 countries. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. www.wgbh.org and www.pbs.org/nova

Kunhardt McGee Productions (formally Kunhardt Productions) was founded in 1987 by Peter W. Kunhardt, a veteran of ABC News and the winner of three national Emmy Awards. Dyllan McGee, Kunhardt's longtime colleague, became a partner in the company in 2008. The company specializes in multi-platform documentary programming crafted to bring cutting-edge scholarship to popular audiences. www.kunhardtmcgee.com

Cause & Affect is an innovative agency operating at the nexus of media and social change, with the objective of creating meaningful public engagement on a wide variety of issues. Led by Meredith Blake, the architect of the social action campaign accompanying Al Gore's Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Cause & Affect brings widespread attention to causes by partnering with influential individuals or organizations that possess considerable resources, visibility and credibility. www.causeaffect.com

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