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The Welcome Back Awards Seeks Nominations to Recognize Those Dedicated to the Depression Community

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Welcome Back Awards is now accepting nominations to honor those who work in the depression community. The Welcome Back Awards is a program established by Eli Lilly and Company to recognize outstanding achievements in the fight against depression and the stigma often associated with the illness.

"After 11 years, the Welcome Back Awards is as valuable and inspiring as ever," said John Hayes, M.D., vice president of Lilly Research Laboratories - neuroscience, Eli Lilly and Company. "The program not only honors the perseverance and true altruism of remarkable individuals, but it offers hope for many suffering from depression and instills a powerful drive to raise awareness about mental illness."

An independent panel of national mental health experts will select honorees in five categories: lifetime achievement, destigmatization, community service, primary care and psychiatry. Winners will share a total of $55,000, to be donated to the not-for-profit organizations of their choice.

Since 1998, the Welcome Back Awards has honored people who have persevered in overcoming depression, helped others to do the same or dedicated endless amounts of time and effort to spreading awareness of the illness.

In 2009, Debra Wentz, Ph.D. was honored with a Welcome Back Award for her work as CEO of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, and as the Founder of the Tsunami Mental Health Relief Project. Through this project, Debra effectively brought together a global team of volunteers in Sri Lanka and the U.S. to develop a training program that would expand the base of individuals who could identify mental illness and provide culturally-relevant support for a community in need. As a direct result of Wentz's compassion and dedication to the Relief Project and those suffering from mental illness after the tsunami, an estimated 200,000 adults and children have received assistance.

"Debra adopted Sri Lanka as her second community - a place where stigma and civil war promised to wreak havoc on the mental health of tsunami survivors unless there was some kind of intervention," said Peter Ashenden, President/CEO of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in Chicago, IL. "The committee is honored to recognize her courage and commitment to improving mental health."

How to Apply for an Award or Nominate Someone Else

Anyone, except Lilly employees, may apply or be nominated for a Welcome Back Award. Nomination forms can be obtained by calling 212-884-0650 or by visiting All submissions for consideration must be received by Monday, Nov. 16, 2009. Completed nomination packets should be sent to: The 2009 Welcome Back Awards, P.O. Box 536, New York, NY, 10008-0536. Each award recipient and one guest will receive complimentary airfare and accommodations to attend the ceremony in New Orleans, LA in May 2010.

About the Award Categories

  • Lifetime Achievement: Any individual whose perseverance has helped him or her overcome clinical depression and resume a fulfilling life is eligible. This person serves as an inspiration to consumers and health care professionals alike, offering hope that depression is treatable and obstacles to recovery can be overcome. (Award level: $15,000)
  • Destigmatization: Any individual whose noteworthy public efforts have helped promote the understanding of depression and reduce the shame and guilt associated with the illness is eligible. (Award level: $10,000)
  • Community Service: Any individual whose outstanding work has created and improved community programs that foster a supportive, caring environment for those suffering from depression is eligible. (Award level: $10,000)
  • Primary Care: Any health care professional - psychologists, physicians, social workers or nurses - whose unique approach to identifying particular needs in depression diagnosis and treatment serves as an example to others is eligible. (Award level: $10,000)
  • Psychiatry: Any psychiatrist who transcends the profession through community work, innovative clinical programs, teaching, new research, outstanding work with patients, or who makes a significant impact on the community or other medical disciplines is eligible. (Award level: $10,000)

About the Welcome Back Awards

Lilly established the Welcome Back Awards in 1998 to fight the stigma associated with depression and to promote the understanding that depression is treatable. Over the past 11 years, Lilly has donated more than $430,000 to charity on behalf of 58 Welcome Back Award winners.

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at



SOURCE The Welcome Back Awards
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