Language Guide for Reporting on Mental Health

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Meet the 2019-2020 Fellows

Alia Dastagir

Alia Dastagir has worked at USA TODAY for nearly eight years, beginning on the audience team where…

Brittny Mejia

Brittny Mejia is a reporter on the Los Angeles Times’ Metro desk covering breaking news and stories…

Clarissa Levy

Clarissa Levy is a journalist with experience covering human rights, politics, economics and health issues. She directed…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the fellowship?

The goals of the fellowship are to:

  • Increase effective and accurate reporting on behavioral health issues
  • Equip journalists with the tools needed to produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of behavioral health
  • Develop a diverse cohort of better-informed journalists who can more effectively report on behavioral health across evolving and emerging platforms

How are fellows announced or notified?

Fellows are notified individually by program staff by telephone before The Carter Center makes an official announcement on the center website and via press release. These calls are confidential. Due to the high volume of applications, applicants not selected as Fellows will not be contacted. Click here for the announcement date. 

Where can I find samples of previous fellowship projects?

To see a database of projects completed by Rosalynn Carter Fellows during their fellowship year, visit the Rosalynn Carter Fellows’ project database to search by Fellow name or year.

Where can I find out about the fellowships in New Zealand, Romania or South Africa?

New Zealand
In 2006, the New Zealand Mental Health Media Grants program was established to sustain the work of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships in New Zealand without The Carter Center. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and the national anti-discrimination campaign, "Like Minds, Like Mine," are co-creators and supporters of the program.

The grants are awarded each year to creative and journalistic projects in New Zealand that challenge people’s perceptions of the experience of mental distress and the journey to recovery.

New Zealander applicants should visit to apply, pre-register for next year’s Grants round or find out more about past winning Creative and Journalism projects.

For more information about the South African Fellowships Program, please contact:

Danielle Whitburn
Grants Coordinator
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

In 2013-2014, The Carter Center and the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest awarded the final two fellows in the collaborative program.

For more information about future opportunities in Romania, please contact:

Cristina Lupu
Executive Director
Center for Independent Journalism
Bdul. Regina Elisabeta, no.32
Bucharest, Romania

South Africa
In 2011, the South African Fellowship Program was created to sustain the work of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships in South Africa without The Carter Center. The South African fellowships are now administered through the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

For more information about the South African Fellowships Program, please contact:

Marion Scher
Media Mentors/Freelance Journalist
2005-2006 Rosalynn Carter Fellow
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel:  +27 82 467 6046


Woman voting

Carter Center’s Mental Health and Democracy Programs join Hearken to support US journalists during election

By Susan Hunsinger Mental Health Program Associate The run up to the 2020 election in the United States — and its aftermath — has affected everyone, especially journalists tasked with covering the dizzying pace of unfolding events. The U.S. faced serious threats, like mistrust in the election process, disinformation and…

Liberian mother

‘Thinking Healthy’ to improve maternal mental health in Liberia

By Samhita Kumar and Sadie Bazur-Leidy The Carter Center’s Global Mental Health Program As a healthcare worker in Liberia, Caroline Saye knows all too well the challenges of providing mental health care, particularly to mothers and moms-to-be, because of too few practitioners. It’s why Saye says it’s so important to…


Carter Fellow Marion Scher’s new book tells stories of lived experience and hope

By Susan Hunsinger Program Associate, Carter Center Mental Health Program A new mother shares her struggle with postpartum depression. A transgender person retraces a difficult journey. A young man whose suicide attempt left him a paraplegic and whose life in recovery is full and fulfilling. These are the stories that…

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter talks to fellows at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The First Lady of Mental Health: A 50-year journey

By Lei Ellingson Senior Associate Director, Public Policy With 200 buildings and spanning 2,000 acres, Central State Hospital in Georgia was one of the largest-ever mental hospitals in the world. Now, its old prison, doctors’ houses and even a pecan grove sit abandoned, surrounded by 25,000 unmarked graves. But in the…

On July 10, 2007, Rosalynn Carter testified before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee in favor of the Wellstone Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, calling for mental illnesses to be covered by insurance on par with physical illnesses. (Photo/The Carter Center)

Covid-19 is affecting everyone, but all insurance companies aren’t covering mental health services. Here’s what you can do.

By Helen Robinson Associate Director of Public Policy, The Carter Center As more and more consumer complaints pour into Kennedy Forum’s Parity Registry, experts are seeing firsthand how mental health insurance coverage — of lack thereof — is a matter of life or death as coverage denials force people across…

Graphic via Gabo Foundation

Top Latin American journalists awarded 2020-2021 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

Clarissa Levy and Manoela dos Santos Bonaldo from Brazil, and Ronny Suárez and Carlos Francisco Fernández from Colombia have been selected as the 2020-2021 Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism in Latin America. The Carter Center and Universidad de La Sabana in Bogotá, Colombia, in association with the Gabo…

Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year. (Photo/University of Michigan)

Rosalynn Carter Fellowship Alum Lisa Armstrong named Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow

By Elisa Xiu Carter Center Communications Intern When the University of Michigan announced the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellows for 2020-2021, Lisa Armstrong, associate professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and a 2015 recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, was among its distinguished ranks. The…

Deena Kamel, left, and Raya Al Jadir, right, are recipients of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism in the UAE.

The National announces UAE’s 2020-2021 Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism

ATLANTA — As part of a partnership with The National media outlet in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Carter Center announces two new fellows for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism Program in the UAE. Fellow recipients Deena Kamel and Raya Al Jadir will join an international…

2020-2021 Carter Fellows

The Carter Center Awards Eight U.S. journalists Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Carter Center will train fellows on effective mental health reporting and support them as they report on a mental health topic of their choice.     ATLANTA — The Carter Center, a global leader in mental health, is pleased to announce the eight U.S. recipients of the 2020-2021 Rosalynn…

Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal, second from left, pictured with his family.

Carter Center and Reveal launch Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grant for Mental Health Investigative Journalism

Veteran investigative journalist Susan Greene selected as one of eight U.S. Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism   ATLANTA — Susan Greene, a veteran investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize finalist and editor at The Colorado Independent, has been selected as the inaugural Fellow under the new Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal…

A photo by Aaron Burden.

Looking out for the mental health of Georgia’s children—before and after COVID-19

By Miriam Pearsall Carter Center Mental Health Program Intern ATLANTA –  Even before Marlana was a teenager, she was able to seek help at school to cope with a learning disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder from emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Behavioral health professionals there used games and talk therapy…

Christine Herman

Carter Fellow Christine Herman wins PMJA award for fellowship story on child-to-parent violence

By Miriam Pearsall Carter Center Mental Health Program Intern ATLANTA – What began for Christine Herman as an exploration of barriers to mental health treatment for children led to an award-winning national feature on violence inflicted on parents by their own children. Herman’s story, “When Teens Abuse Parents, Shame and Secrecy…


Carter Fellow Julianne Hill’s award-winning story leads to funding for psychiatric unit as prison alternative

By Susan Pearson Hunsinger Program Associate, The Carter Center Mental Health Program When college student Andrew Butler needed mental health treatment, his father took him to the only state hospital in New Hampshire offering mental health services. But while there, after attempting to hit his dad, they transferred Butler to…

Carter Center seminar for responsible reporting on mental health, Johannesburg. 4th to 5th April 2011.

The Carter Center partners with Mental Health Reporters’ Network to mentor Liberian journalists

The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and the Mental Health Reporters Network in Liberia announce the inaugural class of mentees in mental health journalism    ATLANTA — The Carter Center’s Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and the Mental Health Reporters’ Network (MHRN) in Liberia have partnered…


Carter Fellow Deborah Wang wins Gracie and regional Murrow awards for fellowship reporting

By Kari Cobham Senior Associate Director, Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowships & Media Ask Deborah Wang about the impact of her stories and she’ll talk about helping people feel less alone. “I’ve heard numerous families say, ‘Thank you for writing these stories. This is exactly what my family has…

Paul Radu holds the Ion Raţiu Journalism Award, which he won in 2018 for The RISE Project investigative series into the underground businesses of Romanians suspected of breaking the law in Romania and Brazil. (Photo courtesy Paul Radu)

Carter Fellow Paul Radu wins $1.5M Million Skoll Foundation Award

By Susan Pearson Hunsinger Program Associate, The Carter Center Mental Health Program Romanian journalist Paul Radu has won many prestigious awards in his career. A 2007-2008 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism, Radu won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Panama Papers, the Daniel Pearl Award,…

A young girl gets vitamin A supplement during a measles and polio vaccination drive. (Photo/CDC)

Crises hit Liberia and Haiti hard. But they’ve needed mental health support long before Covid-19.

By The Carter Center Global Behavioral Health Team Less than a decade after Ebola impacted Liberia, which sits along the North Atlantic coastline in West Africa, a new threat sweeps the globe—Covid-19. Now, as it did then, The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program is working to sustain Liberia’s mental health…

Carter Center Fellow Almudena Toral at the New Mexico area of the border.  (Photo/Patricia Clarembaux)

Carter Fellow Almudena Toral wins National Headliner Awards for documenting violence against girls dying by suicide in El Salvador

By Will McCollum Carter Center Mental Health Program Intern ATLANTA — When MS-13 gang members killed her husband, the young woman living under the alias María fled to America seeking asylum. It’s just one of the tragic stories about immigrant women as victims of violence documented by 2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter…

Carter Center Fellow Fiza Pirani at The Carter Center, September 2019.

Carter Fellow Fiza Pirani’s Foreign Bodies wins inaugural Substack Independent Writers Grant

Fiza Pirani, a freelance writer and 2018-2019 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism, was awarded an Independent Writers Grant from email newsletter publisher Substack for her Foreign Bodies newsletter. Pirani’s newsletter, which centers on immigrant and refugee experiences with a mission to de-stigmatize mental illness and encourage personal storytelling,…

Image by Garry Knight from the By a Wall series on Flickr.

Carter Fellow Thomas Curwen wins Columbia J-School’s Mike Berger Award

Columbia Journalism School announced that reporters from the Los Angeles Times, including 2002-2003 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism Thomas Curwen, have won the 2020 Meyer “Mike” Berger Award. [Read the full announcement from Columbia Journalism School] Curwen, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, and staff photographer…

Press Releases

Carter Center Hosts Discussion on Coping with Anxiety

May 16, 2017 Anxiety Disorders Affect about 18 Percent of U.S. Adults The Carter Center is hosting a June 15 discussion on anxiety disorders with Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow Andrea Petersen and Carter Center Mental Health Program staffer Rebecca Palpant Shimkets. Petersen, a Wall Street Journal health and…

Applications Being Accepted for 2017-18 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

Applications from U.S. residents are now being accepted for eight one-year journalism fellowships with the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program. These fellowships aim to enhance public understanding of mental health issues and reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses through balanced and accurate reporting.

The Carter Center Awards 2016-2017 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

July 10, 2016 ATLANTA — The Carter Center announced today the recipients of the 2016-2017 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. Selected from a pool of highly competitive applicants, the 20th annual class of fellows includes eight from the United States. Two fellowships also were awarded to journalists from…


Applications open for Latin American 2020-2021 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Carter Center and the University of La Sabana, in association with the Gabo Foundation, are now accepting 2020-2021 applications for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism in Latin America. Bogotá, Colombia — Applications are now open for two fellowships for Latin American journalists who investigate and produce…

Applications open for UAE’s 2020-21 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The fellowship program aims to develop a diverse cohort of journalists who effectively report on behavioral health. Applications will be accepted until the end of April. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism UAE program is accepting applications for its 2020-21 intake of two…

Join #CarterFellowsChat to learn more about our mental health journalism fellowships

Carter Fellows and a longtime adviser will take live questions about the fellowships, applications and more.  UPDATED March 5, 2020: We missed you at #CarterFellowsChat! Tap on the tweet below and then on each question to see tips for applying from fellows Aneri Pattani and Christine Herman, and longtime Journalism…


Resources For Journalists

Supporting Journalists Efforts In Mental Health Journalism

The Carter Center Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health (pdf) supports journalists’ efforts to report accurately and effectively behavioral health issues, including addiction and substance use, in ways that do not reinforce stereotypes and stigma.

  • Online Journalism Resources

    Find training opportunities, key mental health organizations & centers, governmental resources, important publications, and more.

    More Info
  • Tipsheet for Covering Childhood Traumatic Grief

    From the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

    More Info