Two South African journalists are among the 10 recipients of the tenth annual Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, according to a release.
They are Tamar Kahn, the science and health editor of Business Day, and Vida la Sik, a feature writer on Drum Magazine.
Each fellow will R50 000 to study and report on a particular issue within the mental health field for one year and travel to Atlanta twice 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.
In the past, fellows have published in-depth articles, produced radio and television documentaries, and written books. Their projects have garnered awards from the National Mental Health Association, the American Psychological Association, and Amnesty International, as well as Emmy award nominations and two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize.
Khan will explore the impact of trauma, shift work, and organizational changes on the mental health of South African police officers, and how their mental health problems affect their families, co-workers, and the citizens they are charged to protect.
La Sik will focus on households headed by children as a result of HIV/AIDS and the help available to them to cope with stress and depression.
The fellowships are part of an international effort by the Carter Center Mental Health Program to reduce stigma against people with mental illnesses and decrease incorrect and stereotypical information. In South Africa, they work with the Wits University Journalism Programme, headed by Professor Anton Harber.
"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 can reduce stigma and discrimination."
Contact: Prof A Harber, Wits Journalism