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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism 2005-2006

Karen Brown
Reporter, WFCR-FM
Northampton, Mass., USA

TOPIC: Produce a radio documentary on the effects of mental illnesses on siblings, from growing up with a brother or sister with a mental illness to forging relationships as an adult.

A Burden to be Well: Sisters and Brothers of the Mentally Ill
This documentary focuses on the issues and emotions that face the sisters and brothers of people with mental illness. These siblings often feel ignored by family, health care providers, and society at large while the ill sibling takes up most of the available attention.

Marriage Suffers Under the Strain of PTSD
Anna and Peter Mohan are a couple in their 20s who married just before Peter went to Iraq with the Army. When he came back, Peter was a different man - morose, withdrawn and, eventually, suicidal.

Divorce is Hidden Cost of Iraq War, Couple Says
Last spring, Anna and Peter Mohan, a young couple from Western Massachusetts, were coping with the aftermath of war. Peter has suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder since his 2004 return from Iraq.

Child Mental Health Screenings
As of January 1st, all pediatricians in Massachusetts are required to screen their young Medicaid patients for mental health problems. It's a court-mandated move that supporters hope will identify more troubled children and get them earlier treatment.

Intensive Mental Health Program on Chopping Block
State budget cuts in Massachusetts this year have led to some wrenching choices, and critical mental health services have been hit. To save the jobs of 80 caseworkers and other services within the Department of Mental health, the state plans to cut two intensive programs for the chronically mentally ill – including one based in Springfield.

Veterans Struggle to Fit into College Campuses
Thanks to the federal G.I. bill, the number of veterans on American college campuses is expected to jump by 30 percent this year - some estimates put it at 100,000 people nationwide, with about 400 at Umass-Amherst alone. But even with financial help, the transition from combat to campus can be tough.

The Wild Child: Coping with a Bipolar Youth
"The Wild Child: Coping with a Bipolar Youth" is an hour-long radio documentary that follows three young people, and their families, as they navigate adolescence with a severe mental illness.

Housing First -- A New Solution for Homelessness
Springfield, MA is trying out a new protocol for ending homelessness - a program called Housing First. The idea is to give apartments to the chronically homeless (often mentally ill or addicted to drugs), and THEN offer services to get their lives back on track. Not the other way around.

Love, War, PTSD
"Love, War and PTSD" is a two-part series that profiles a married couple living with post-traumatic

A Utopia of Foster Care Inspires Copies
West of Boston, a new community is taking shape that matches young families with troubled foster youth and elderly residents who'll provide wisdom and support. Called the Treehouse Community, the program is seen as a model for how to help foster families cope with the challenges of helping abused children. Karen Brown reports.

Intensive Mental Health Program on Chopping Block
People with mental illness are jailed at a much higher rate than the general population - but should they be? To separate criminal cases from clinical ones, about 150 special mental health courts have cropped up nationwide in recent years.

Mental Health Court Offers Alternative to Jail
People with mental illness are jailed at a much higher rate than the general population - but should they be? To separate criminal cases from clinical ones, about 150 special mental health courts have cropped up nationwide in recent years.

Tele-therapy for Autism and Other Disorders
Technology has made it possible to treat a variety of medical disorders through video-streaming - which comes in handy in places where there's a shortage of specialists. But it's still better to be face to face, right?

Child Psychiatry via Phone Hotline
Massachusetts - like many states - has a shortage of child psychiatrists, but no shortage of children with mental health challenges.

Sensory Friendly Movies for Autistic Children
The mainstream movie experience - with its 3-D, IMAX, and surround-sound - can be too much for children with autism. As the national rate of autism diagnoses claims, parents and advocates have persuaded some theaters to tone it down.

Hormones and Behavior
When bad things happen to children, they often suffer lasting psychological effects well into adulthood - including depression and anxiety.

Holocaust Survivors Contend with New Memories
An estimated 200,000 Holocaust survivors are still living. Many were only children during the Nazi terror.

Recognizing PTSD in Holocaust Survivors
The first time Sonia Reich was hunted by the Nazis, she was an 11-year-old orphan, seeking refuge in the Polish countryside. The second time was almost 60 years later, on a quiet street in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Ill. That time, however, the pursuit was happening solely in her head.

Mindfulness Can Change the Brain
Can meditation change your brain? A new study out of UMass Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital has found that a type of meditation - called mindfulness training - actually increases the gray matter in brain cells.

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