The Carter Center Awards Two Irish 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 21, 2023) — The Carter Center is pleased to announce that Órla Ryan of The Journal, working with its investigative platform Noteworthy, and Shauna Bowers of The Irish Times have been selected as the inaugural winners of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism in the Republic of Ireland. 

The fellowship program, which was founded by former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, gives journalists across the world the resources they need to report on mental and behavioral health issues to help dismantle the stigma millions of people face every day. With the support of Headline, Shine and The Carter Center, Ryan and Bowers will have the crucial resources necessary to produce this important work in the Republic of Ireland.    

Ryan and Bowers will represent the Republic of Ireland and join over 250 mental health journalism alumni fellows from across the globe. Ryan’s submission focuses on the lack of services impacting teens with schizophrenia, while Bowers’ submission examines the prevalence and impact of mental health issues among those engaged in the Republic of Ireland’s criminal justice system.

Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander said: “We’re delighted to expand the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship Program into the Republic of Ireland. We know that quality reporting on mental health issues can have a tremendous impact on educating the public, decreasing stigma, and even changing policies on mental health, and are grateful to Headline and Shine for bringing this program to Irish media.”  

Headline’s Program Leader, Áine O’Meara said: “We’ve been working on bringing this fellowship to Irish journalists for a long time, so we’re thrilled to finally be doing that.” In referencing Headline’s 2018 research, Reporting on Mental Health: Challenges Facing Journalists, O’Meara said: “When asked about reporting on mental illness, journalists were clear in their request for more support and better resources. That’s a fundamental part of Headline’s work, to make it as easy as possible to cover challenging mental health stories. Órla and Shauna both pitched projects that dig into underreported areas and highlight the needs of the Republic of Ireland’s most marginalized communities. It’s mental health journalism at its finest and we’re honored to facilitate that through this fellowship.”   

The main aims of the fellowship are to increase effective and accurate reporting on mental illnesses, to equip journalists with the tools needed to produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of mental illnesses, and to develop a diverse cohort of informed journalists who can more effectively report on these issues across evolving and emerging platforms.  

Shine CEO Nicola Byrne said: “I wish to congratulate Órla and Shauna on being the first fellows selected for the program in the Republic of Ireland. Shine is proud of its long history of working with the Irish media to break down the stigma attached to mental illness. We look forward to seeing how the fellowship empowers them to amplify the voice of lived experience of mental illnesses in the Republic of Ireland.”  

The fellows will have one year to complete their projects and will publish stories from their investigations over the course of that year, beginning in September 2023. They will also present their completed work at The Carter Center in September 2024.

Learn more about the Carter Center's Georgia mental health program »

Read about Rosalynn Carter’s 50 + years of mental health work »

Follow @CarterFellows on Twitter for reporting from all Rosalynn Carter Fellows for Mental Health Journalism.

Contact: Rennie Sloan,

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 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.

Headline is Shine’s national programme for responsible reporting and representation of mental illnesses. We are a recognized global leader in innovative media and mental health practices. The media has an enormous impact on how people form their opinions about others and the society in which they live. This includes how people form their opinions on mental health. Headline works collaboratively with media professionals, policymakers, academics and other stakeholders to reduce suicide contagion via the media, improve the media’s ability to cover mental health stories, and enhance audiences’ understanding of mental health experiences. We achieve this through our media monitoring, student and professional workshops, research, policy collaborations, fellowships and awards.

Shine is a national organization in the Republic of Ireland providing information and support for people affected by mental health difficulties. Shine supports individuals and family members through individual recovery work, peer support groups, training and education and stigma reduction programmes. Shine also advocates for social change by promoting and defending the rights of all those affected by mental health difficulties to equal support and quality services. Shine is the Republic of Ireland’s only national mental health organisation specifically founded to support all family members. Our national programs are See Change and Headline. See Change campaigns to end the stigma around mental health by changing public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems for the better. Headline campaigns for the responsible reporting and representation of mental illnesses in the Irish media.