Carter Center Releases 2024 Journalism Resource Guide for Mental Health Reporting

ATLANTA — The Carter Center today released a new Journalism Resource Guide for Mental Health Reporting. The guide – developed in part with funding from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM), and in partnership with the World Psychiatric Association and the International Center for Journalists – is available in English and Spanish and provides up-to-date statistics, resources, and guidance on how to report on mental health issues accurately and sensitively.

“Our new resource guide reflects what we’ve learned from more than 250 of our mental health journalism fellows and the increased demand for mental health media coverage to be treated with sensitivity,” said Karen Ladley, senior associate director for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. “The guide also integrates consequences and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, when depression and anxiety rates rose about 25% in the first year, according to the World Health Organization.”

Key recommendations in the 22-page guide include:

  • Four myths that still occur in mental health reporting and the facts to help debunk them.
  • Language to avoid when reporting on suicide and what to use instead.
  • Examples of common mistakes made by journalists and best practices for mental health reporting.
  • Tips for and the importance of solutions-based reporting.
  • Guidance on using culturally sensitive perspectives when reporting on mental health stories, including speaking directly with people with lived experience.

The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, established by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, released its first “Resource Guide on Behavioral Health” for journalists in 2015. This updated guide replaces the term “behavioral health” throughout with mental health to broaden the understanding of these issues. “Behavioral health” is the preferred term for health insurers, some treatment providers and advocates in the United States, and refers to mental health and addictive disease.

The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program staff will host an online seminar discussion on April 9, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. ET on the updated version of the guide. The one-hour session will include an overview of the guide and its sections, a Q&A with Carter Center staff and the team who helped create the guidelines, and examples of standout mental health reporting. The webinar is free and those interested can register to attend at

The guide is dedicated to Carter Center Co-Founder Rosalynn Carter, who passed away on Nov. 19, 2023. Learn more about Mrs. Carter and her 50 years of mental health advocacy. Learn more about the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism program, where journalists can submit their applications for the 2024-25 fellowships, due on April 12, 2024.


About The Carter Center
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.