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ATLANTA...The Carter Center Mental Health Program has named the 10 recipients of its twelfth annual Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, including six from the United States, two from southern Africa, and two from Romania. Each domestic fellow will receive a $10,000 stipend to study and report on a particular issue within the mental health field for one year. International fellows will receive a comparable stipend.
The fellows will convene in Atlanta at The Carter Center on Sept. 22-24, 2008, to meet with former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Center's Mental Health Task Force, and the Journalism Fellowship Advisory Board to discuss planned topics of study. The fellowships are part of an international effort by the Carter Center Mental Health Program to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and decrease incorrect and stereotypical information.
"Informed journalists can have a significant impact on 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 has the potential to reduce stigma and discrimination."
Since the beginning of the fellowship program, more than 100 newspaper and magazine articles have been written, five books published, four television documentaries produced, and hours of radio time aired. Fellows' projects have garnered awards from Mental Health America (formerly the National Mental Health Association), the American Psychological Association, Amnesty International, and the Association of Health Care Journalists, as well as Emmy Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations.
The U.S. recipients are:
Topic: Report on challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder faced by veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan returning to school in the United States.
Topic: Produce a series of radio stories on efforts to provide treatment for depression and combat stigma of mental illnesses in the Middle East and Africa as well as among African and Middle Eastern populations in the United States.
Anchor, Producer and Reporter
KDLT-TV, NBC 5
Sioux Falls, SD
Topic: Produce a three-part series examining the links between suicide, depression, and alcoholism on Native American reservations.
Dallas Morning News
Topic: Examine the struggles of people who are homeless to find treatment for mental illnesses and substance use in Texas.
Times News Service
Topic: Produce a series of articles exploring the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and what can be done to treat and prevent the illness in returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Topic: Produce a series of narrative radio reports documenting the plight of foster children with mental illnesses in California.
The Southern African recipients are:
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Topic: Investigate the role of traditional healers in treatment of people with mental illnesses.
The Sunday Times
Durban, South Africa
Topic: Write a series of articles on the lack of mental health workers and state of the community mental health system in South Africa.
The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships would like to acknowledge the University of the Witwatersrand and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
The Romanian recipients are:
Editor of the Education/Culture and Social Department
Ziarul de Iasi Newspaper
Topic: Write a series of articles on people with mental illnesses working toward living socially fulfilling lives in the community.
Topic: Produce a series of articles on the symptoms of and treatment available for people with depression, as well as a guide of good practices for Romanian journalists covering suicides.
The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships would like to acknowledge the Center for Independent Journalism, Bucharest, Romania.
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.