Language Guide for Reporting on Mental Health

If you’re a journalist on deadline, we recommend you check out our free guide.

Meet the 2019-2020 Fellows

Alia Dastagir

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

Stephanie Foo

Stephanie Foo is a writer and radio producer. She spent several years as a producer for This…

Melanie Saltzman

Melanie Saltzman reports, shoots and produces stories for PBS NewsHour Weekend. Much of her reporting focuses on…

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 mediagrants.org.nz 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
danielle.whitburn@mentalhealth.org.nz

Romania
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
www.cji.ro
www.facebook.com/Centrul.Jurnalism.Independent

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
Email: journo@icon.co.za 

Recently

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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,…

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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,…

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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…

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‘Connection, distance and empathy’: Judith Warner on the book she wished she had when her daughter hit middle school

“And Then They Stopped Talking to Me” comes at a time when the ambient anxiety of illness, job losses and economic uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 will undoubtedly affect middle schoolers’ families. But it may not be all negative.  By Susan Pearson Hunsinger Program Assistant, The Carter Center Mental Health Program ATLANTA…

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How Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellows are helping communities cope with COVID-19

By Kari Cobham Senior Associate Director, Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowships & Media ATLANTA — Alia Dastagir was eight months pregnant when she came to the Carter Center last year for training on mental health reporting. She wondered how she’d soon balance being a mother of two, her work…

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Deadline extended for Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

ATLANTA (April 3, 2020) — The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism is extending its deadline for applications, recommendations and the applicant letter of support to April 29, 2020, for journalists who are U.S. citizens and residents. Fellows are still expected to be announced Wednesday, July 15, 2020, on…

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What happens to migrant children separated from their families? LA Times’s Brittny Mejia investigates.

Brittny Mejia is a reporter on the Los Angeles Times’ Metro desk and a 2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism. This is a lightly edited version of the informal essay Brittny submitted for her fellowship application, republished with her permission. Links have been added for context. Fellowship applications…

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An ongoing list of COVID-19 mental health resources for journalists and you

UPDATED May 5, 2020 ATLANTA — Carter Center mental health journalism fellows have been reporting on the mental health impact of COVID-19. You’ll find here their reporting, mental health resources for journalists covering the pandemic and for the general public impacted by the virus. We are continuing to update this…

2019-2020 Fellow Alia Dastagir

Carter Fellow Alia Dastagir wins award from American Association of Suicidology

The feedback Alia Dastagir gets as a woman reporter can get abusive, she says. It’s part of what makes being recognized for her mental health reporting sadly stunning, but also even more gratifying. In March, the American Association of Suicidology awarded Dastagir, an enterprise reporter at USA Today and 2019-2020…

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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…

The National senior reporter Nick Webster, left, discusses his mental health reporting work at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

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

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The Open Notebook Craft of Science Writing

Carter Fellows’ work featured in Open Notebook’s “The Craft of Science Writing”

By Iain Smith Carter Center Intern ATLANTA — Three Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism fellows have had their work featured in The Open Notebook’s latest book, “The Craft of Science Writing.” In the book, The Open Notebook pooled a collection of articles to educate scientists and science journalists on science…

Twitter

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…

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“We have come a very long way”: Carter Fellow Marion Scher shares her experience covering mental health in South Africa

By Will McCollum NAIROBI, Kenya — Fifteen years ago, Marion Scher wanted to understand how stigma around mental illness affected black and white communities in rural and urban South Africa. A veteran journalist, she spent time as a Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow in Johannesburg talking to children with…

April Dembosky

KQED’s April Dembosky talks about her gut-wrenching investigation into women with postpartum psychosis who kill their children.

2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow April Dembosky takes us behind-the-scenes and into her investigation on postpartum psychosis. Her story aired on KQED on February 6, 2020. Read and listen here. It also ran in Mother Jones and the Mother Jones podcast. By Kari Cobham Senior Associate Director Postpartum…

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Carter Fellow Deborah Wang shares recommendations for reporting on suicide

2018-19 Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow Deborah Wang shares recommendations for reporting on suicide from her fellowship training, reporting and research. Deborah is a contributing reporter at KUOW Public Radio and host of the SoundQs podcast. Read and listen to Deborah’s mental health reporting during her fellowship year here….

Stephanie Foo

She tried everything to treat her complex PTSD. Now she’s writing a book to help others—and herself.

Stephanie Foo is a writer, radio producer and a 2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism. This is a lightly edited version of the informal essay Stephanie submitted for her fellowship application, republished with her permission. Links have been added for context. The deadline for fellowship applications has been…

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

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…

Topics

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