August 7, 2000
Volume 52, No. 39
Fellowships awarded to journalists
By Laurie Scott-Reyes
The Carter Center has selected six new recipients for the annual Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism.
The scholarship, sponsored by the center's Mental Health Program, provides six grants of $10,000 each to journalists to study a selected topic regarding mental health or illness. The fellowships were founded by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who said, "Journalists play an increasingly important role in shaping public understanding and debate about health care issues."
Fellows are encouraged to select topics that are unique and creative and that educate the public, raise awareness or inform other journalists in the field. The Carter Center provides the journalists resources through its network of various agencies. This year's recipients are:
Monica Brady, a reporter with WBUR-FM, Boston. Brady will study the relationship between medication and mental illnesses. These issues include insurance coverage limitations, commercial advertising for medications and the use of medications with children.
Eleanor Casey, a freelance writer, will write a series of articles on the role of social support in depression. The articles will be based on the premise that with the arrival of pharmacological treatment, family and support networks have often been overlooked as powerful forces in the lives of people with depression.
Carl Ginsberg and Helen Demeranville, freelance video producers, will videotape interviews with children who have mental illnesses and have been released from jail. They will interview the parents about the dilemmas of raising-and sometimes relinquishing-a child with mental illness.
Michael Isip, executive producer, KVIE-TV, Sacramento, Calif., will produce a one-hour documentary that tells the stories of homeless people with mental illnesses, highlighting the work of local outreach workers.
Robert Landauer, editorial columnist for The Oregonian, will write a series of columns chronicling how various states address the Supreme Court's directive in its Olmstead vs. L.C. decision, and analyze why supported employment for people with mental illnesses isn't given high priority. He also will develop case studies showing people with mental illnesses succeeding in many fields.
George Wehrfritz, News-week's Tokyo bureau chief, will examine the impact of corporate downsizing on mental health in one Japanese town.
Carter is the driving force behind the fellowship program. Her role with mental health issues goes back more than 25 years. In 1985 in collaboration with Emory University's Department of Psychiatry, she organized the Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, an event that brings together national leaders in the mental health community to examine issues of common concern.
"Mental illnesses constitute one of the most serious, unrecognized, underreported health problems in the United States," Carter said. "Despite the current healthcare 'revolution' in this country, mental health issues often remain shrouded in myth or mystery, perpetuating stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses, their families and the professionals who treat them."
For more information about the fellowships, call the Carter Center's Mental Health Program office at 404-420-5165 or visit the center's website at www.cartercenter.org.