Every year, six U.S. fellows are awarded stipends of $10,000 each. International fellows are awarded a comparable stipend. Stipends cover expenses during the fellowship project, including travel, materials, and other incidental expenses. Fellows are placed in Advisory Groups consisting of Journalism Fellowship Advisory Board members and other Fellows, in which Fellows and Advisory Board members can share technical assistance and information about complex mental health issues, as well as share professional contacts within their field of expertise. All fellows are required to contact their Advisory Groups three times over the course of the fellowship year. In addition, fellows interact with each other, with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and with members of the Carter Center Mental Health Task Force. The fellowship encourages total journalistic independence and freedom and only requires that the fellows report accurately.
Fellows enjoy a great deal of flexibility in scheduling their project work throughout the year. They make two expense-paid visits to The Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga. The first trip occurs in September, at the beginning of the fellowship year, when fellows meet with Journalism Advisory Board members, task force members, and other fellows to discuss their project plans. The second visit comes in September, at the end of the fellowship year, when fellows present their completed projects and discuss challenges and successes in mental health reporting. Each visit lasts three days. Projects do not require fellows to leave their jobs.
Fellows are encouraged to select topics that are unique and creative. Projects may educate the public, raise awareness, and inform other journalists in the field. The Carter Center provides resources through its network of scientific, health care, education, consumer, family, provider, and government organizations agencies.
Some recent topics have included exploring:
- The roles impulsivity and mental illness play in contributing to suicides in the United States
- The gaps in access to health care among young adults ages 18-21 who have mental illnesses
- The difficulties and special skills needed to deliver mental health services to a multiethnic population
Fellowships are tailored to suit the needs, interests, and experiences of each fellow. They also generate knowledge and information to benefit the mental health field and the public. When appropriate, the program requests that fellows conduct one training session related to mental health and journalism for their peers during the fellowship year. Training can be in a variety of formats, including brown bag lunches, seminars, or panels.
“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. They influence their peers and stimulate discussion among the general public, and an informed public can reduce stigma and discrimination.” – Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Applications for the 2014-15 fellowship year should be submitted no later than Monday, April 14, 2014.