Public Integrity, Carter Center Partner for Mental Health Reporting – Center for Public Integrity

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In the face of a growing national mental health crisis, the Center for Public Integrity is partnering with The Carter Center to launch the Mental Health Parity Collaborative, a new multi-state newsroom partnership focused on exploring access and inequalities in mental health care in the United States.

Newsroom partners are located in six states – Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania – selected for their regional, political and demographic diversity. Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization focused on inequality, is the collaboration’s national news partner. The project kicked off in February with a virtual meeting that brought together nearly 40 journalists and editors from across the country.

“It’s a strong sign of the state of journalism when so many incredible news organizations come together and collaborate like this on an issue of inequality affecting so many lives,” said Matt DeRienzo, editor-in-chief of public integrity. “The Center for Public Integrity is honored to be a part of this effort and eager to support the national and local news organizations that participate.”

Newsroom partners include the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting (AZCIR), Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, KQED, Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), Side Effects Public Media, the Chicago Tribune, Public Source, WITF, KERA and The Texas Tribune—a group that can grow over time.

the Journalist’s resource Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy program will provide research support and assistance in organizing, summarizing, and contextualizing academic research on topics related to mental health parity.

Participating reporters are a mix of long-running digital news and radio reporters who will find compelling stories in their state about why mental health care is not treated, funded, or available on par with medical care. – although federal law requires that it be. More than half of American adults with mental illness, or 27 million people, do not receive any medical treatment – ​​a number that has been increasing since 2011, according to Mental Health Americaand about 1 in 10 people with mental illnesses do not have health insurance.

“There is no better time to cover this topic in our country as unfortunately we have seen the issue take center stage and worsen over the past two years during the pandemic,” Nora said. Fleming, the Carter Center Newsroom Collaboration Manager overseeing the project. “We have assembled a very talented team of reporters and editors who have a passion for covering mental health care and are excited about what they will be producing in the months ahead.”

Nora Fleming, Collaborative Newsroom Manager at The Carter Center

Fleming has over 15 years of experience in journalism and communications. Previously, she was editor-in-chief at Edutopia, where she edited and wrote articles, managed multimedia content projects, launched a scholarship program for budding reporters and led a network of journalists.

Managing Editor Jennifer LaFleur will lead Public Integrity’s editing role with the collaborative. She serves on the boards of the National Center for Disability and Journalism and Investigative Reporters & Editors. Prior to joining Public Integrity, she was data writer at Investigative Reporting Workshop, editor-in-chief at Reveal of the Center for Investigative Reporting, and director of data journalism at ProPublica.

Jennifer LaFleur, Managing Editor at Public Integrity

Stories pursued by newsroom partners will explore longstanding inequities in access to mental health care for marginalized populations through a data-driven, solutions-oriented lens, Fleming said. Coverage may include proposed new mental health legislation in California and Georgia, ongoing struggles to provide mental health services in schools, or initiatives to provide mental health resources in the criminal justice system, she added. Throughout the project, the partners will have the opportunity to meet, collaborate and receive training to support their work.

Center staff Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowships and Mental Health Program developed the idea for the project in 2019 and secured funding from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation and individual donors. The work should last until August 2022, with the possibility of expansion.

A nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped improve the lives of people in more than 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights and economic opportunity; prevent disease; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health around the world.

Public Integrity’s investigative reporting examines the causes and effects of inequality, with a focus on jobs, housing, healthcare, education and access to democracy. His previous work on the influence of money in democracy, abuse of public trust, environmental justice and other topics has been recognized with some of journalism’s highest accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize, Goldsmith , Edward R. Murrow, Gerald Loeb and George Polk Price.

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