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Carter Center Awards Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism for 2003-2004



ATLANTA…..The Carter Center's Mental Health Program has named eight recipients of its seventh annual Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, including two fellows from New Zealand. Each domestic fellow will receive $10,000 to study a particular issue within the mental health field for one year. The fellows will convene in Atlanta at The Carter Center on Sept. 22, 2003, to meet with former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Center's Mental Health Task Force, and the Fellowship Advisory Board to discuss planned topics of study. Past fellows have published newspaper articles, produced television documentaries, and written books. Their projects have garnered awards from the National Mental Health Association and Amnesty International, as well as Emmy award nominations and two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.

The fellowships are part of an international effort by the Mental Health Program to reduce stigma against people with mental illnesses and decrease incorrect and stereotypical information.

"Informed journalists can have a significant impact upon public understanding of mental health issues, as they shape debate and trends with the words and pictures they convey," Mrs. Carter said. "They influence their peers and stimulate discussion among the general public, and an informed public can reduce stigma and discrimination."

The recipients are:

Sewell Chan, Reporter
The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., USA

Project: Through a series of articles, examine the District of Columbia's efforts to build a stronger, community-based system of care for children with mental illnesses. Research similar children's services in at least one other urban mental health system.

Gail Fisher, Senior Photo Editor
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Project: Produce a documentary, using video and still cameras, which explores how a family copes with a loved one diagnosed with a mental illness. Chart the stages of the disease through recovery, rehabilitation, and mainstreaming into society.

Kevin Heldman, Freelance Journalist
Brooklyn, NY, USA

Project: Write a series of articles exploring the mental health concerns of the critically ill and their caretakers. Subjects involved will include the patient, EMS workers, doctor, surgeon, nurse, and the patient's family.

Wray Herbert, Assistant Managing Editor
U.S. News & World Report
Washington, D.C., USA

Project: Explore how mental illnesses are being treated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Will give special attention to the actual lives of workers with mental disabilities.

Virginia Holman, Freelance Journalist
Durham, NC, USA

Project: Write an extended article on how children of parents diagnosed with schizophrenia have fared as a result of living with, and caring for, a loved one with a mental illness. Discuss the financing and organization of care for sufferers of schizophrenia and their children.

Peter Klein, Producer
CBS News 60 Minutes
Brooklyn, NY, USA

Project: Produce a documentary exploring the effects of trauma. Conduct interviews with holocaust survivors and those left behind by holocaust survivors' suicides. Explore how similar situations can be introduced to modern genocidal experiences.

Noel O'Hare, Freelance Journalist
Wellington, New Zealand

Project: Publish stories that consider the issues affecting the mental health of migrants in New Zealand. Identify strategies for making resettlement a less oppressive experience.

Alex Spence, Freelance Journalist
Auckland, New Zealand

Project: Investigate the relationship between mental illnesses and poverty in New Zealand, through an in-depth series of feature articles. Focus on the impact poverty has on triggering mental illness and delaying recovery.


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