Language Guide for Reporting on Mental Health

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Meet the 2019-2020 Fellows

Headshot of Evey Wilson Wetherbee

Evey Wilson Wetherbee

Benjamin Von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grantee for Mental Health Investigative Journalism Evey Wilson Wetherbee is an Assistant Professor…

Maryam Al-Badr

Maryam Al-Badr is a junior at Northwestern University in Qatar studying journalism. In 2018, she launched a…

Amandeep Bhangu

Amandeep Bhangu is an international presenter, reporter and filmmaker with 10 years’ experience working for BBC News in…

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

©Grant Blankenship/GPB: The stretch of Deepstep Road in Washington County where Eurie Martin fatally encountered Washington County Sheriff's deputies in 2017. In many cases, law enforcement officers are not prepared to handle mental health crisis calls.

Overwhelmed with mental health calls, six rural sheriffs make their own plan for better response

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) by Sofi Gratas, September 13, 2023: Eurie Martin, 58, was walking alone on a rural two lane road in Washington County in 2017, when three deputies from the county sheriff’s office encountered him, responding to a suspicious person call. They didn’t know Martin had a history…

Shelly Cailler says goodbye to her wife, Kellie Wright, after Wright was detained at the Pottawatomie County jail. ©Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman

Cover-up Alleged in Pottawatomie County Jail Deaths

Oklahoma Watch, by Whitney Bryen, September 6, 2023: Pottawatomie County jail officials apparently defied state laws and a judge’s order when they concealed information on the unexplained deaths of seven vulnerable detainees. All seven people arrived at the jail with medical and mental health or substance use complications that required…

Aaron Morris, 27, shows a photo of him and his mother, Richelle, from elementary school on his cellphone at his Jefferson City, Mo., home in August. Richelle, who was found mentally incapacitated in 2003, is currently in a vegetative state after having a heart attack in the Harris County Jail in February. ©Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Landing

This Harris County program serves the most vulnerable. But it won’t bail them out of jail.

Houston Landing, by Alex Stuckey and Marie D. De Jesús: This story is the third in a broader series, “Deadly Detention,” investigating jails across Texas. You can read the first story here and the second here. When a Houston police officer arrived at Richelle Morris’ group home in a quiet…

©Zach Raw/For The Frontier and Curbside Chronicle

People with mental illness are more likely to die in jail. A new Oklahoma County program puts them in treatment instead

The Frontier, by Kayla Branch, August 31, 2023: There have been nine suicides at the Oklahoma County jail in three years. Another six people with documented mental health issues died of other causes. One woman’s death has helped jumpstart a diversion program. After her arrest for a small amount of…

San Diego County Administration Building

How San Diego Is Rolling Out CARE Court

Voice of San Diego, by Lisa Halverstadt, August 24, 2023: San Diego County is up against the clock to implement a new state-mandated system that compels people with certain mental illnesses into care. It’s a herculean task, and one with many obstacles. San Diego County officials have until October to…

Maddie Maes and her mother sit on their couch.

LGBTQ+ kids in Colorado are struggling. Finding the right therapist is yet another hurdle.

KUNC, by Leigh Patterson, August 21, 2023: Colorado’s LGBTQ+ youth are living with high rates of depression, stress and thoughts of self-harm, but finding treatment in Northern Colorado can be a challenge. This has been the experience of 15-year-old Maddie Maes. Her mental health has been up and down for…

Women hidden by trees.

Mental Health Care Is Critical for Survivors of Violence. Access Is Another Story.

Mental Health Care Is Critical for Survivors of Violence. Access Is Another Story., by Claudia Boyd-Barrett, August 3, 2023: Lisbet wondered if the victim advocate had made a mistake. Lisbet was at the Family Justice Center in San Diego, a social services agency for domestic violence survivors, trying to get…

RCJF 2023-2024 Fellows

The Carter Center Awards 9 U.S. Journalists Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Center will train fellows on accurate and effective mental health reporting and provide access to mental health experts  ATLANTA (July 12, 2023) — The Carter Center is pleased to announce nine U.S. recipients of the 2023-2024 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. The group includes award-winning freelancers, staff…

©Joshua Bickel/Center for Public Integrity: Hannah Norris, 13, and her mother, Lisa Norris, pose for a portrait at their home, Dec. 10, 2022, in Hilliard, Ohio.

Families take drastic steps to help children in mental health crises

The Center for Public Integrity, by Christine Herman, March 16, 2023: An insufficient mental health care system pushes some families to give up custody of their children for care. States look for better solutions. When Lisa Norris adopted her daughter Hannah out of foster care as a toddler in 2010,…

©Anna Vignet/KQED

Proven Schizophrenia Treatments Keep People in School, at Work and off the Street. Why Won’t Insurance Companies Cover Them?

KQED, by April Dembosky, March 1, 2023: What if, instead of telling patients with schizophrenia to prepare for a lifetime of disability, we asked them what they want and worked with them toward full recovery? When Yvonne was walking across campus and heard someone calling her name, she stopped and…

©WITF: Martha Stringer, at left, talks with her daughter Kimberly Stringer, at right. The Stringers have filed a lawsuit against Bucks County Correctional Facility employees after Kimberly was pepper-sprayed and restrained while detained there while suffering from a mental health condition.

Jails fail to accommodate people with mental illness. In some cases, it’s a civil rights violation.

WITF, by Brett Sholtis, November 14, 2022: As a note of disclosure, WITF and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are challenging in court Bucks County’s refusal to release a video of an incident involving Kimberly Stringer while she was in Bucks County Correctional Facility. Months before her…

Wayne Wilson, standing in a hogan at the Native American Baha’i Institute in Houck, holds eagle feathers he uses in traditional healing ceremonies. © Laura Bargfeld/Cronkite News

Healing Through Culture: Increasing access to Native American practices to treat mental health

Cronkite News, story and video by Laura Bargfeld, audio story by Natalie Skowlund, November 4, 2022: HOUCK – In a remote hogan near the southern edge of the Navajo Nation, Wayne Wilson lights a fire, lays out eagle feathers and remembers his grandfather’s teachings. “He would talk to me and…

Donald Winston adjusts the blinds moments after moving into his new apartment — the first-ever home of his own. ©Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

California is trying to house the homeless through a health insurance program. It worked for this man.

Los Angeles Times, by Lila Seidman, October 19, 2022: On a blistering hot Friday in August, Donald Winston, 56, lugged black trash bags stuffed with belongings up four flights of stairs to what had just become his first-ever home of his own. Winston sweated profusely as the plastic bags began…

©Sipa USA/Joshua Guerra/Sipa USA via Reuters.: Twenty one chairs, flags and crosses are displayed in front of local businesses on May 30, 2022, in Uvalde. They each honor the 19 students and two teachers killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Uvalde prompted Texas to start taking mental health funding for schools seriously. Is it enough?

Texas Public Radio, by Bonnie Petrie, September 27, 2022:  [Petrie Dish Podcast] On a sweet, sunny spring Tuesday, children across the state were preparing for summer break, feeling that giddy rush that comes to kids in those last, loose days of the school year when unstructured hours of summer fun…

©Annie Mulligan/The Texas Tribune: Devin Mathieu and his partner, Claudia Dambra, discuss someone who might need a package containing life-saving harm reduction supplies in their apartment on Sept. 16.

Texas bans many proven tools for helping drug users. Advocates are handing them out anyway.

The Texas Tribune, by Sneha Dey, October 11, 2022: HOUSTON — Thirty minutes before a punk show this summer, Claudia Dambra set up a table and taped to it a tablecloth she had hand-painted with broad, white brushstrokes. The banner read, “PUNK NOT DEATH.” As people flooded into the Houston…

©Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune: Dana Jones pauses for a moment on Aug. 1, 2022, as she retells her experiences with past floods in Houston. Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 and Winter Storm Uri in 2021 damaged her home.

“It’s destroying me”: Storm after storm, climate change increases strain on Texans’ mental health

The Texas Tribune, September 8, 2022, by Erin Douglas: HOUSTON — The first thing Dana Jones, 61, tells you to do when you enter her gray-blue house in Melrose Park is walk along the off-white tile, up and down, through her dining room, while she watches carefully for your reaction….

©Dan Carino

There’s Free Mental Health Help For Crime Victims, But Providers Say Bureaucracy Gets In The Way

SCPR/KPCC, Sep 9, 2022, by Robert Garrova: About three years ago, a Southern California resident we’ll call Jane —we’re not using her real name because of a pending trial and security concerns— and her husband found out their child had been assaulted. “Your world is rocked. We couldn’t sleep for…

©Brandon Quester/AZCIR: Students pass through open walkways in this file photo of a high school in Tempe, Arizona on Aug. 27, 2021

Youth access to mental health care improved under Jake’s Law, but persistent barriers hamper its reach

Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting (AZCIR), September 1, 2022, by Shaena Montanari and Maria Polletta:  In March 2020, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a sweeping set of measures designed to help curb rising rates of suicide and expand access to mental health treatment for Arizona residents with and without…

©Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune: Meena Thiruvengadam, of Chicago, on July 20, 2022, has to pay out-of-pocket for therapy because her therapist does not accept health insurance.

Why is it so hard to find therapists who take insurance in Illinois?

Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2022, by Lisa Schencker: Meena Thiruvengadam faced a choice when her therapist stopped taking health insurance about a year ago. She could try to find someone else who would take her insurance, or she could pay her therapist — whom she trusted and had already been…

©Shutterstock/megaflopp

How Georgia’s new mental health law works

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 3, 2022, by Katherine Landergan: There’s a new law on the books that should make accessing treatment for mental illness and addiction much easier. But some proponents of the new law fear that many Georgia residents may not know about the change. That means patients could…

Press Releases

The Carter Center Awards 9 U.S. Journalists Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Center will train fellows on accurate and effective mental health reporting and provide access to mental health experts  ATLANTA (July 12, 2023) — The Carter Center is pleased to announce nine U.S. recipients of the 2023-2024 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. The group includes award-winning freelancers, staff…

The Carter Center Awards 9 U.S. Journalists Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism

The Center will train fellows on accurate and effective mental health reporting and provide access to mental health experts ATLANTA (July 14, 2022) — The Carter Center is pleased to announce nine U.S. recipients of the 2022-2023 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. The group includes freelancers, staff reporters,…

Apply for a 2022-2023 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in Latin America

Universidad de La Sabana, in partnership with The Carter Center, is now accepting applications for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism for the 2022-2023 cycle.  The program awards two fellowships to Latin American journalists who investigate and report on the state of mental health in this region. The…

Applications

Apply for a mental health journalism fellowship in the UAE

Rosalynn Carter fellowships are a year-long, non-residential program providing training, support and mentorship to two journalists The United Arab Emirates program for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism is now accepting applications for its 2021-22 intake of two journalists. Interested candidates have until May 27 to apply. It…

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…

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