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

Contact: Rennie Sloan, +1-404-420-5129

The Carter Center will train fellows on effective mental health reporting and support them as they report on a mental health topic of their choice.

ATLANTA — The Carter Center, a global leader in mental health, is pleased to announce the eight U.S. recipients of the 2019-2020 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. The group includes local reporters, an investigative reporter, field producer, visual journalist, and others. Fellowships to international journalists will be announced in fall 2019.

Beginning in September, fellows from across mediums will pursue a range of innovative mental health journalism projects during the year-long, non-residential fellowship. The projects tackle some of society’s biggest behavioral health challenges, and seek to strengthen reporting, to drive change in their communities, and help reduce stigma through storytelling.

This year’s fellows — selected from a pool of close to 100 highly competitive applicants — are accomplished journalists as demonstrated through their work and references, and who have a high interest in diving into mental health reporting. Fellows are selected by a committee of current and former journalists, mental health experts, and the Fellowship Advisory Board, with an emphasis on diversity across ethnicity, geography, mediums, and the communities their fellowships project will cover.

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U.S. journalists accepted to the Carter Center’s 2019-2020 program  Years supporting fellows mental health reporting Fellows awarded to date

"The Carter Center has worked for more than two decades to develop a cohort of journalists who can have a significant impact on the public's understanding of mental illnesses," said former First Lady and Carter Center co-founder Rosalynn Carter. “These journalists are making important contributions to lifting some of the stigma associated with mental health issues."

Carter Center U.S. fellows receive intensive training from leading mental health and journalism experts and a $10,000 stipend to report on a mental health topic of their choice. The fellowship program challenges recipients to delve deeper into learning about a mental health issue of interest to ensure the public gets reliable information about mental illnesses.

Fellows will visit the Carter Center’s campus in Atlanta Sept. 16-18 for training on effective behavioral health reporting from past fellows and advisors, to connect with alumni, pair with their mentors, and gain a deep understanding of behavioral health. Sessions include a practical “Words Matter” session, lessons from past fellows, and hands-on coaching.

The Carter Center is pleased to welcome the following journalists as fellows for the 2019-2020 class of Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism:

  • Elizabeth Barber
    Editorial Staff
    The New Yorker
    Topic: Stigmatization in Southern Baptist churches and blending mental health care with faith

  • April Dembosky
    Health Correspondent
    KQED Public Radio
    Topic: Postpartum psychosis and the movement to reform the insanity defense

  • Aneri Pattani
    Investigative Reporter
    Spotlight PA
    Topic: College students forced to take mental health leaves of absence from school

  • Stephanie Foo
    Writer/Editor/Former Producer
    Topic: Investigative memoir on complex PTSD

  • Brittny Mejia
    Metro Reporter
    Los Angeles Times
    Topic: Separation and reunification of migrant children

  • Almudena Toral
    Visual Journalist/Head of Enterprise Video
    Univision News Digital
    Topic: PTSD and its resurgence among immigrants and asylum seekers amid harsher immigration policies

  • Melanie Saltzman
    Field Producer
    PBS NewsHour Weekend
    Topic: Exploring how food and mental health are connected

“Mental illness and substance use are among the most common health conditions, and journalists have a responsibility to cover them accurately or else we risk perpetuating stereotypes and stigma,” said Kari Cobham, senior associate director of the The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and Media.

Cobham will be joined by news and mental health leaders during the September fellowship meeting, including:

  • Katie Hawkins-Gaar, lead faculty for Poynter’s Leadership Academies for Women in Digital Media
  • Bill Lichtenstein, president, Lichtenstein Media/former investigative producer, ABC News
  • Arlene Morgan, founder, Punch Sulzberger News Media Executive Leadership Program/former assistant managing editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Hawkins-Gaar, Lichtenstein, and Morgan sit on the Fellowships’ Journalism Advisory Board.

The fellowship program is part of the Carter Center's Mental Health Program, which works around the world to improve access to mental health care and reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. The program is committed to providing journalists with the tools they need to report on mental health and distributes a Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health, so journalists can accurately cover stories that include behavioral health. Fellows’ mental health reporting are curated daily on @CarterFellows on Twitter.

Editor's Note:
Learn more about Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism.


About The Carter Center
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.