When Music Makes a Difference: Documentary Wins Award


The documentary Orchestrating Change has won the 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.



The Austen Riggs Center has presented the 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media to executive producers/directors Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin for their documentary Orchestrating Change. The film is about Me2/Orchestra, the world’s only orchestra created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them.

“Orchestrating Change is a remarkable film that fights stigma by showing people struggling with mental and substance use disorders as, above all, quite simply human, with areas of competence in addition to areas of struggle and challenge. The film demonstrates the value of relationships and of belonging to a community as part of achieving resilience,” said Austen Riggs Center Medical Director and CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD.1

According to the Austen Riggs Center, the prize “recognizes a select group of media professionals, including journalists, writers, and others who create exemplary work that contributes to a deeper understanding of and greater public awareness about mental health issues and carries an award of $3,000.”1

“We are honored to receive the Erikson Prize. Me2/Orchestra's mission is to defeat mental health stigma. They have created a transformative organizational model that erases stigma through inclusion and compassion,” said Maggie Friedman.

Multer-Wellin stated, "We share their mission and hope the film challenges audiences to reconsider preconceived notions of what it means to live with a mental illness and provokes much-needed dialogue.”

The Austen Riggs Center will honor the 2021 prize recipients in a virtual event later this year. For more information about the film, visit: orchestratingchangethefilm.com 


1. Austen Riggs Center. Orchestrating Change named 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize recipient. News release. July 27, 2021. https://www.austenriggs.org/press-release/orchestrating-change-named-2021-austen-riggs-erikson-prize-recipient

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