Headline 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 (RCJF).   

The Fellowship programme, which was founded by former United States First Lady Rosalynn Carter, gives journalists across the world the resources they need to report on mental and behavioural 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.     

Ryan and Bowers will represent Ireland and join over 250 mental health journalism alumni fellows from across the globe. Ryan’s submission focusses 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 Ireland’s criminal justice system.  

Headline’s Programme 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 JournalistsO’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 Ireland’s most marginalised communities. It’s mental health journalism at its finest and we’re honoured to facilitate that through this fellowship.”     

Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander said: “We’re delighted to expand the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship Program into 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. “

The main aims of the fellowship are to increase effective and accurate reporting on mental ill health, to equip journalists with the tools needed to produce high-quality work that reflects an understanding of mental ill health, 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 programme in 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 ill health in Ireland.”    

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

For more information on the fellowship, you can visit the Headline website.    

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