American Psychiatric Excellence (APEX) Awards


Thank you for making our first APEX Awards a success!

On April 18, 2016, APA and the APA Foundation honored the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” (OITNB) at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. More than 450 people attended the orange-tie event.

The first-ever APEX Awards celebrated those who have demonstrated the highest levels of mental health advocacy and who are working to reduce the number of Americans with mental illness in our prisons and jails. During the event, stars from the show participated in a conversation about how the show has opened a window into the experiences and treatment of people with mental illness in America’s prisons and jails.

Natasha Lyonne, Matt McGorry and Dascha Polanco of “Orange Is the New Black” walked the orange carpet and talked about how acting on the show has changed their perceptions of incarceration and mental illness – and sparked conversations about these topics.

Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and National Public Radio, emceed the event.


The 2016 APEX Award recipients included:

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a vocal advocate for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and long-time champion of health care reform that integrates mental health care with primary care
  • Sen. Al Franken (D- Minn.), a tireless advocate for mental health, recently introduced the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, legislation that addresses the problem of criminalization of mental illness
  • State Sen. Miguel Díaz de la Portilla (R-Miami-Dade County, 40th District) recently introduced legislation addressing mental health services in the criminal justice system, which was passed by both houses of the Florida state legislature in March
  • “Orange Is the New Black” has drawn national attention to the issues of people with mental illness in the corrections system