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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism 2007-2008

Ilse Pauw
Senior Writer/Editor
Cape Town, South Africa

TOPIC: Write a series of feature articles highlighting individuals living with a mental illness.

In Charge and Depressed
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik can remember every detail of 31 August 1997, the day he was diagnosed with depression – an illness that he says has enriched and changed his life.

State Ritalin Shock
State psychiatrists are up in arms about a decision by the Western Cape Department of Health to withdraw the long-acting form of Ritalin, Ritalin LA, from the public sector as of December 2007. Psychiatrists say the decision is a major setback in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

To Tell or Not
Up until the winter of 1997, Sue thought she had it made: a loving husband, adorable one-year-old twins, a great home and a booming career as a lawyer. One text message was all it took to shatter her world. Her husband had left his phone at home by mistake and when a text message came through, Sue checked it in case it was something urgent. What she read was: "Thanks for yet another wonderful time. Can't stop thinking about you xxx."

My Secret Life
Elizabeth first noticed she was a bit different from other people when she was nine years old. She was petrified of swallowing her own spit. She was convinced that if she swallowed it, something bad would happen, especially to her parents, and that it would be her fault.

The Cruellest Loss
It was his son's suicide three years ago which set Bhabha Mkhasibe on a new career path: fighting to raise awareness about suicide.

My Addiction Journey
Sam, 35, remembers the day her addiction started. While traveling on a school bus at the age of 13, she got horribly drunk on cough mixture and alcohol. Little did she know that this would be the start of a 20-year downward spiral of abuse and self-destruction.

Living in a Quandary
"Living with mental illness means living with a set of questions," says 43-year-old Sanette. "Will I get ill again? Am I still ill? You are in a quandary: you wonder, 'should I tell people and trust them, or not? And how will they react?' I don't think anyone who hasn't had a mental illness can begin to imagine what it is like living like this."

The Stigma of Mental Illness
Whacko, cuckoo, "malkop", "waansinnig", loony, nuts, crazy, bananas… the list of negative labels for people living with mental illness is long. The labeling, discrimination, and exclusion of the mentally ill happens all over the world and has occurred throughout history. In ancient Greece, the mentally ill were not allowed out in public and their families were fined if they didn't control them.

Hidden Shame
Joyce, 68, has a thick, full mane of brown hair. But what people don't realize is that the locks at her right temple are carefully arranged to cover a huge bald patch, the circumference of a tennis ball.

Schizophrenia: A Mother's Tale
Heather McKenzie's life took a dramatic turn when her son first started displaying symptoms of schizophrenia in 1998. Here is the story she told us in 2003. We also include an update of what has happened in the past four years.

Depression and Sleep
Tired of tossing and turning at night, watching the hours tick by and panicking that you will have a rotten day because you haven't slept at all? Don't despair, a good night's sleep might be possible after all.

Acne and Social Development
If you suffer from acne, you may find that the psychological effects are far worse than the physical effects.

How to Choose the Right Therapist
You're depressed and not coping. Your friends have suggested therapy and you're finally considering it. But where should you start? How do you go about choosing the right therapist?

'All I Want Is to Be Slim'
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are not just about food. It is a survival mechanism to help individuals cope with their lives.

Adolescents Vulnerable to Suicide
In South Africa, research in 2001 indicated that one in five teens thinks about harming themselves, with 7.8% of these youths actually attempted suicide before, while 57.7% of the sample had told someone of their intentions to end their lives.

The Secret Crime of Sex Abuse
A victim of Cézanne Visser, 32, better known as Advocate Barbie, committed suicide in Botswana at the weekend. The body of Jeannine du Plessis, 21, was found on Sunday morning in the Kgalagadi area, where she had hanged herself from a tree branch.

Could You Be Depressed?
Right, being in your teens is no picnic, what with parents, teachers, brothers, sister, and friends who often make your life miserable. Or maybe it's not them, but just life in general, or the atmosphere at home, or your daily boredom at school, or the fact that you think no one likes you.

Incest: SA Kids at Risk
Recent reports indicate that one in two South African children have experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18, says Joan van Niekerk, national coordinator of Childline, an organization that assists children who have experienced abuse.

Breaking the Silence After Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse often goes unreported. Why do so many people remain silent when this happens to them? According to Liezel van Schalkwyk, training and development coordinator at Rape Crisis, it can take several years before survivors of sexual abuse decide to report the crime.

Co-Existing Alcohol Abuse Seldom Treated
Between 30 and 60% of alcohol abusers have underlying depression and anxiety disorders. Yet many doctors treat anxiety and depression but fail to treat alcohol dependence at the same time.

Divorce: How It Affects Your Child
Two out of every three marriages in South Africa end in divorce which means that an increasing number of children are growing up in so-called "broken homes". What are the effects on children, what should you look out for and how can support your child?

Depression-Migraine Link
Researchers might have found a link between migraine headaches and the risk of major depression and the two seem to exacerbate each other.

Having Sleepless Nights about Insomnia?
Tired of tossing and turning at night, watching the hours tick by and panicking that you will have a rotten day because you haven't slept at all? Don't despair, a good night's sleep might be possible after all.

Mental Illness in Children on the Increase
In 2003, the World Health Organisation estimates that worldwide up to 20 percent of children and adolescents had a mental health disorder serious enough to require professional attention. Yet, fewer than one in five received needed treatment.

Beating Depression after Retirement
Many of us equate the word "retirement" with relaxation, holidays and sleeping late. But for some, it can be the start of depression.

CyberShrink Tackles Stress
Are we living in particularly stressful times or have we just stopped dealing with stressors effectively? Health24's CyberShrink Prof Michael Simpson gives Mind editor Ilse Pauw pointers on how people can deal with stress in a more helpful way.

Five Ways to Get Happy 
Which simple steps can you take to achieve long-lasting happiness? In this second video installment of our series on happiness, Health24's Mind Editor, Ilse Pauw, spoke to Dr. Pierre van Spuy about what we can do to lead more fulfilled, happy lives. Pierre is a medical doctor, strategic management consultant and actor whose recent book, A Happy Human Brain, is based on years of research in neurology and psychiatry.

Three Lies about Happiness
Our ultimate goal is to be happy and content and we'll go to great lengths to achieve this. But are we looking for happiness in the wrong places?

Psychiatric Admissions: The Steps
Meet Clare. She's been caring for her schizophrenic brother for the past four years. He is on medication and is an outpatient, but things have got seriously out of hand in the last three days. Would you know what to do in a psychiatric emergency?

Suicide Warning Signs
More than 150 000 South Africans attempt suicide each year. Of them, one in ten women and one in three men succeed, according to the South African Society of Psychiatrists. What are the warning signs of suicide?

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