Carter Center Mental Health Journalism Fellowships

Featured September 2020

“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.”
-Rosalynn Carter

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has been a steadfast advocate for parity and improving the lives of those living with mental health disorders. The Center’s Mental Health Program, which houses the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, works to improve access to quality behavioral health services through varied initiatives.

Supported by Mrs. Carter’s long-standing advocacy for the rights of people with mental illnesses, the Mental Health Program promotes awareness about mental health issues, informs public policy, achieves equity for mental health care comparable to other health care, and reduces stigma and discrimination against those living with mental illness.

Founded in 1996, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism aims to increase the accuracy of behavioral health reporting, while decreasing incorrect, stereotypical content in circulation. Over the years, the Fellowship has created a cadre of better-informed professional journalists who more accurately and thoughtfully report information through media channels, creating a ripple effect of a more understanding society.

Click here to learn more.

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Click here to read the newest report from Professor Stacy L. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The study is the most comprehensive and intersectional look at film, and examines 57,629 characters in 1,300 top films from 2007 to 2019.

Read more about the report in Variety, the LA Times, and Deadline.

There has been little to no progress when it comes to all speaking characters shown on screen in 13 years. A few key findings include:

  • 34% of all characters were female-identified.
  • 34.3% of speaking characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
  • 1.4% of speaking characters were LGBTQ
  • 2.3% of speaking characters were depicted with a disability

Arizona Public Media Emmy Nominations

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced last week that Arizona Public Media staff received 13 individual Emmy® nominations for 8 projects across 8 categories, more than any other television station in the Tucson market. AZPM has again been nominated for the coveted Overall Excellence Award, which recognizes the contributions of the entire staff to overall station operations, local productions, and involvement in the community.

The symbol of excellence in the television industry, the Emmy is presented to individuals working on television productions in both the Program and Craft (editing, audio production, talent, etc.) categories. Entries are judged by peers at television stations outside the Rocky Mountain region. The Emmy judges clearly recognize the work and dedication of the talented team at AZPM and have acknowledged that commitment with these nominations. Winners will be announced at an online gala in mid-September. A full list of AZPM’s Emmy nominees is available on the AZPM website.

AFI Ranked #1 Film School

The American Film Institute Conservatory was ranked the number one film school in America by the Hollywood Reporter. Click here to read the article.

Orchestrating Change Documentary Airs 9/5-6 on WORLD Channel and on Public TV this Fall

ORCHESTRATING CHANGE shows triumphs and challenges of the Vermont- and Massachusetts-based Me2/Orchestras. Premieres Sep 5 @ 8pm EST / 5pm PST and Sep 6 @ 12am EST (Sep 5 @ 9pm PST) on WORLD Channel. Public television stations across the country will air the film throughout the fall.

LOS ANGELES — August 12, 2020 – ORCHESTRATING CHANGE, a new documentary about the first orchestra created for people living with mental illnesses and the people who support them, premieres nationally next month on WORLD Channel, and airs on public television stations throughout the country this fall (check local listings).

Directed by Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin, ORCHESTRATING CHANGE is presented by KTWU/Kansas Public Television and distributed by American Public Television. It premieres nationally on WORLD Channel Sep 5 @ 8pm EST/5pm PST and Sep 6 @ 12am EST (9pm PST on Sep 5). Public television stations across the country will air the film throughout the fall. A list of stations and airdates is available here. It will air locally on PBS 6+ channel 398 at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 19. [NOTE: Airings are listed approx. 14 days in advance; see Media/Contact section market-specific schedule requests.]

ORCHESTRATING CHANGE follows the triumphs and challenges of the Me2/Orchestra that was created in 2011 by Music Director Ronald Braunstein, whose rising career as a world-class conductor was cut short when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Along with his wife, Executive Director Caroline Whiddon, Braunstein first created the organization with outposts in Burlington, Vt., and Boston, building a stigma-free zone for musicians like him. Since the orchestra’s founding, Me2/Orchestra has performed in theaters, at community events, at professional medical conferences, in detention facilities and more.

Me2/-affiliated music groups have been started throughout New England and in Portland, Oregon, with plans for expansion to Pennsylvania, Georgia and Maine. The 90-minute film covers two years of Me2/Orchestra’s work, highlighting stories of musicians whose lives take unexpected turns, and for whom the organization serves as an alternate family, a judgment-free support system, and a reliably positive part in their lives. The film opens as Braunstein’s long-sought dream to bring together the Boston and Burlington performers for a combined concert begins to take shape. Viewers watch as Braunstein and Whiddon race from Boston to Burlington and back, working to arrange and conduct rehearsals, and supporting the players in both cities, some of whose personal struggles factor into the work of the orchestra. If things go as planned, the two ensembles will play a public concert together for the first time — on the same stage where Braunstein conducted his last professional concert before disclosing his illness and being fired from his job. Friedman says ORCHESTRATING CHANGE features captivating characters and the group’s beautiful music, along with striking animation that challenges viewers to reconsider their preconceptions about living with mental illness. “The Me2/Orchestra itself erases stereotypes of people with mental illness diagnoses,” Friedman says. “We hope the film’s humor and heart raise awareness about stigmatization, and highlights the fulfilling, creative lives these musicians lead. Multer-Wellin adds, “mental illness cannot be something we talk about only in the wake of something horrible happening. At this moment in our country’s history, it’s more important than ever to talk openly about mental health and mental illness.”

Braunstein describes the process of filming a crucial point in his life – and the life of the orchestra – as freeing. “I’ve been out about my condition for quite a few years now,” he says, “and it’s been the greatest experience to hear peoples’ responses to the film, and the poignant questions they ask about me and the orchestra.” Whiddon hopes the film reaches broader audiences with a more positive idea about what it means to live with mental illness. “One woman in a test screening came up to us and said if her son had known a group like Me2/ existed, he might have lived. There aren’t enough positive stories of people living with serious mental illness.”


  • Executive Producers/Directors: Margie Friedman & Barbara Multer-Wellin
  • Composer: Bronwen Jones
  • Editor: Ralph Herman
  • Additional editing: Joanne D’Antonio & Matt Dean


Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin are Emmy Award-winning filmmakers with years of documentary and non-fiction television experience. Their previous films have appeared on PBS, including its prestigious series, “Independent Lens.”


NYTimes article

Websites:  ,

Facebook:           @OrchestratingChangeTheMovie, @Me2Orchestra

Twitter:                @Me2Documentary, @Me2Orchestra

Instagram:           orchestratingchange, Me2/Orchestra

Hashtags:             #OrchestratingChange, #OrchestratingChangeTheMovie, #ClassicalMusicForMentalHealth

  • Downloadable photos from the film are available here.
  • An electronic press kit with synopses and other details available here.


ORCHESTRATING CHANGE was made possible with the support of The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, The Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Nina Zacuto, the Passim Iguana Music Fund, The Puffin Foundation, the United Way of Northwest Vermont, and the Hard Rock Heals Foundation.


Talk It Out Mental Health Services for TUSD Students and Families

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – COVID-19 has pushed a lot of services to online and virtual programs, including learning. Now that list includes free mental health services for TUSD students and their families.


Earlier this year, free counseling sessions for TUSD families would be in person, but COVID-19 has brought counseling to the computer.


“This is an unprecedented time. None of us have been through anything like this and we’re all navigating, said Megan Kasper, Clinical Coordinator, Talk It Out.


Talk It Out has offered free counseling services in the TUSD system with doctoral students and the U of A. As of the end of June they have already done about 200 more appointments than in 2019, with services going all-online since March.


“Our volume has consistently been high,” said Kasper.


Telehealth has made it easier to expand hours and reach more people, organizers said that is a good thing because COVID-19 will probably bring more in search of counseling.


“Depression rates, anxiety rates (are) increasing due to COVID and the uncertainty around it,” said Kasper.


To read the full article, click here.

Pathways Program for Single Mothers Awarded Grants, Rise Prize

Biz Tucson, July 30, 2020

A partnership between the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and Pima Community College called Pathways is garnering national attention with the news that it is receiving a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant as well as the national Rise Prize award.

Launched in January, Pathways enables single mothers to earn a credit-bearing Career & Technical Education certificate, preparing them for careers in growing fields that pay a living wage. The program was designed with classes during the K-12 school day to make it possible for single mothers to attend while their children are in school, or receive childcare scholarships for kids age 0-5 through First Things First – Quality First initiative. The program, funded by The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, the ECMC Foundation, and the Governor’s office, also provides a living stipend, transportation assistance, and emergency funding.

Click here to read the full article.

Emmy Nominations for Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops

Documentary film Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops has been nominated for two News and Documentary Emmy Awards – Outstanding Social Issue Documentary and Editing.

In January 2020, The David and Lura Lovell Foundation convened a community screening at the Loft Cinema of Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops, an HBO documentary about police responses to mental health calls. Director Jenifer McShane follows police officers Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro during their daily encounters with people in crisis as members of the San Antonio Police Department’s mental health unit.

A panel discussion followed the screening, featuring producer and director Jenifer McShane and Officer Joe Smarro. Local panelists included moderator Christina Rossetti of Rossetti Consulting Group; Dr. Richard Rhoads, Chief Psychiatrist of the Banner-UMC Crisis Response Center; Judy Kowalick of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona (NAMI SA); Sabrina Taylor, the Phoenix Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator and board member of Crisis Intervention Team International; and Jason Winsky, supervisor of the Tucson Police Department Mental Health Support Team.

Click the links below to view the panel discussion, recorded and produced by Amanda Shauger for 30 Minutes, KXCI Tucson.

Lovell Foundation and Community Foundation for Southern Arizona End-of-Life Care Grants

TUCSON, Ariz., (June 23, 2020) – The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) and The David and Lura Lovell Foundation announced that grant funding totaling $3,656,534 has been awarded to 12 nonprofits to cooperatively address issues related to the awareness, understanding, and availability of end-of-life care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities.

The foundations are offering strategic, multi-year grants to help change the narrative of how we plan for and experience death and dying in Southern Arizona.

The funding partnership between the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona and The Lovell Foundation began in 2017 when the two foundations came together to award more than $3 million to support end-of-life care programs. To continue this important work over the next three years, the following organizations have been awarded funding for the 2020-2023 grant cycle:

The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona began supporting end-of-life care in 2010 as an original funder of the community-wide Elder Initiative (now the ELDER Alliance). After the tragic and sudden death of Shaaron Kent, a portion of her estate came to CFSA to support three areas she felt passionate about, one of which was hospice programs in Southern Arizona. The Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund was established in 2012 as a field of interest fund to carry out her wishes.

“The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona is honored to steward Shaaron Kent’s legacy to the community through our End-of-Life Care funding partnership with the Lovell Foundation,” shared Kelly Huber, Director of Community Investments at CFSA. “Her endowment fund allows us to award multi-year grants to organizations addressing end-of-life care issues and the universal experiences of death, dying, and grieving. The increase in awareness of end-of-life care and in the services available to underserved members of our community compared to three years ago is a testament to the power of nonprofit and funding organizations working together to address complex issues.”

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation envisions a community where all people have access to integrative approaches to health care and wellness throughout the spectrum of life. After co-funding an award-winning film, Passing On, about a community that achieved a 95 percent advance directive completion rate, the Lovell Foundation began working collaboratively with CFSA to fund a larger initiative aimed at changing the conversation around dying in Pima County.

“The Lovell Foundation is proud to continue our joint support for The Partnership with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona,” said John Amoroso, Executive Director of the Lovell Foundation. “Together, we are helping to create a culture-shift in the way we talk about, prepare for, and care for ourselves and our loved ones at end of life in Southern Arizona and beyond. A global pandemic and the exposure of racial inequities in health care, especially end-of-life care, has only heightened the need for this work.”

With funding provided by the Lovell Foundation in 2019, Southern Arizona Senior Pride developed an End of Life Planning Program that educates, encourages, and enables LGBTQI+ people to prepare their Advance Care Directives in a culturally responsive and safe setting. “This three-year grant from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation will propel our program into the future,” shared Lavina Tomer, Volunteer Executive Director at Senior Pride. “It enables us to become a consistent leader and educator in our community for the crucial task of preparing for the end of our lives.”

With the vision that no child grieves alone, Tu Nidito helps children, teens, young adults, and their families find comfort, hope, and support when impacted by the diagnosis of a serious medical condition or the death of someone special.  Annually, Tu Nidito serves more than 700 children plus their adult caregivers.

“Tu Nidito is honored to be selected as a recipient of a three-year end-of-life grant from the Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund at CFSA. With this grant Tu Nidito will be able to carry out the important work of supporting children facing end-of-life issues through individualized and group support programming when a parent or caregiver has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition,” shared Liz McCusker, Executive Director at Tu Nidito.

Of the 200,000 people who live in poverty in Pima County, 140,000 will have a civil legal need this year, facing barriers to basic human rights that are difficult to overcome without a qualified attorney’s services. The right to dignified end-of-life planning is one of these needs, and the volunteer attorneys at Step Up to Justice are bringing those services to low-income clients where and when they need them.

“We believe that every individual, regardless of circumstances, has the right to make well-informed decisions about their wishes for health directives, future care for heirs and dependents, and transfer of personal property and assets,” said Michele Mirto, Executive Director of Step Up to Justice. “Our new pro bono legal services project, Prep with Tech: End-of-Life Planning, funded by the Shaaron Kent Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, will provide low-income residents of Pima County with expert legal assistance in preparing wills, advanced directives, beneficiary deeds, and health care Power of Attorney.”

All participating nonprofits share that vision, several having worked together as part of the Arizona End-of-Life Care Partnership, anchored at the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. This innovative, community-wide collaboration is one of the most significant community-based end-of-life care initiatives in the nation.

“The Mission of the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership is to enhance the way we live by fundamentally changing the way we talk about death,” shared LaVonne Douville, Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. “We want to ensure that people’s individual priorities are communicated and understood so they can live and end well. We are immensely grateful to Lovell and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for making it possible for Tucson to be a leader in creating best practices around this work.”

Learn more about the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership and the collective work being done in Southern Arizona to encourage compassionate, honest conversations about mortality at


About the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

Since 1980, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) has been a trusted philanthropic partner helping individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits work together to create a stronger community. These funding partnerships allow CFSA to improve the quality of life throughout Southern Arizona by stewarding donor and community resources to measurably affect change. To date, CFSA has awarded over $200 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofits and educational institutions. For more information, visit or call (520) 770-0800.

About The David and Lura Lovell Foundation

Over the past 25 years, the Lovell Foundation has awarded $33.6 million in grants to more than 100 nonprofits in the areas of Integrative Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Youth Access to the Arts and Gender Parity. The end of life care and planning initiative falls under Integrative Health and Wellness, working to make available integrative modalities and support individual and family choice across the life continuum. For more information, visit or call (520) 325-3656.

“The Mask You Live In” Screening and Panel Discussion

Tackling the Crisis facing Boys and Men in Tucson

Many boys are taught to never show their emotions, and that they must win at all costs. In addition, teenaged boys today often lack access to loving, reliable adult men who can accompany their own journey towards adulthood. As a result, adolescent boys in America today are at increased risks for depression, anxiety, suicide, and acting out in violent ways. All of these problems are hyper-concentrated by other factors in Tucson, such as racism, poverty, trauma, and intergenerational cycles of violence. Our boys need our help.

On June 26th, Boys to Men Tucson is partnering with The Loft Cinema, The University of Arizona’s Consortium on Gender-Based Violence, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse, Pima County School Superintendent’s Office, TUSD, and Healthy Pima to host a critical event on behalf of the boys and young men in Southern Arizona.

Ashanti Branch’s groundbreaking work is featured in the critically acclaimed documentary, “The Mask You Live In.”

This two-part event begins with a screening of this powerful documentary, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

At 4 PM :Ashanti Branch, whose work is featured in the film, will facilitate an interactive workshop with all participants that focuses on gender socialization, equity, and mental health—and his work in particular is attentive to the experience of black and brown masculine-identified teenagers.

Around 5 PM, we will introduce our local leaders, who will localize the stakes of the conversation by sharing a bit about how issues of masculinity and gender equity impact their own communities in Tucson.

The panelists are:

  • Anna Harper-Guerrero, from Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse
  • Gabe Trujillo, Superintendent of TUSD
  • Lance Meeks, Goodwill Metro Youth Program
  • Chucho Ruiz, Chicanos Por La Causa
  • Michael Brasher, Boys to Men Tucson