Virtual Screening and Panel Discussion of BEDLAM 10/27/20

Arizona Public Media and NAMI Southern Arizona invite you to join us for a special virtual screening of Bedlam.

Tuesday, October 27 at 6:30 pm

Based on the critically-acclaimed book with the same title, this feature-length documentary from Independent Lens immerses us in the national crisis surrounding care of the severely mentally ill through intimate stories of patients, families, and medical providers.

We will be joined in the chat by experts in the mental health field, including:

  • Christina Bickelmann, Executive Director of NAMI Southern Arizona
  • H. Clarke Romans Former Executive Director of NAMI Southern Arizona
  • Sgt. Jason Winsky, Tucson Police Dept Mental Health Support Team

We encourage you to interact with our featured experts and other guests during the screening via the chat function. Guests will not be on camera or audio, so feel free to get comfortable!



COVID-19 Challenges for Older LGBTQ+ People – Survey Presentation 10/13/20

COVID-19 Creates Unique Challenges for Older LGBTQ+ People: UA SIROW Researchers Share Pioneering Survey Results

 After a lifetime of fighting for their basic human rights, aging LGBTQ+ people face a whole new series of social and medical challenges. We can now add COVID-19 to that list of hurdles.

Quickly recognizing unique threats the corona virus may hold for this vulnerable population, local research scientists Beth Meyerson and Sally Dodds sprang into action early in the pandemic to create and administer a survey of COVID risks and impacts for LGBTQ+ older people in Arizona–perhaps the first such study ever conducted. They will present to the public five important takeaways from their survey results on Tuesday, October 13 at the Southern Arizona Senior Pride monthly Speaker Series, held at 2pm online (via Zoom).

The program will emphasize Pima County data important to LGBTQ+ community members, their friends, family, and support networks. Key topics will include: (1) health status of older LGBTQ+ adults, (2) risk reduction and protective behaviors, (3) impact of staying home and quarantine isolation on mental health, (4) what individuals and (5) service organizations can do to help.

Dr. Sally Dodds, a retired UA professor of psychiatry and medicine with a career background in HIV/AIDS research, explains: “We believe that work like this will really build a stronger community infrastructure for LGBTQ people.” She notes that these survey results are only the prelude to a much larger critical needs assessment currently underway “to help determine the priorities for programs and policies needed by older queer adults.”

Describing herself as a “pracademic” because of her decades of public health practice and policy experience, Dr. Beth Meyerson is currently a research professor with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) and an affiliate with the Institute for LGBT Studies, both programs of UA. She notes: “This project was made possible by partnerships with LGBTQ organizations throughout the state. During the COVID19 ‘stay home’ order, it was almost impossible to reach people; but we could do so electronically and through their vast networks. We are grateful for the collaboration.”

Southern Arizona Senior Pride celebrates, supports, and unites Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender older adults in southern Arizona.

Beth Meyerson, , 520-626-5908

Lavina Tomer, Ex. Director, Southern Arizona Senior Pride, , 520-312-8923

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.