psychiatric disability

Artist with schizophrenia and his father write article together

Former British journalist, Patrick Cockburn, and his son Henry Cockburn, co-wrote an op-ed for The Independent candidly describing Henry’s experience with schizophrenia. The article is the first in a 3-part series focusing on how Henry’s mental illness has shaped his career as a professional painter. Click here to read about this father-son story in The Independent.

Henry Cockburn painting

Bernie Sanders Makes Controversial Comment About Mental Health During Democratic Debate

Sen. Bernie Sanders is accused of using ableist language in a comment he made during Sunday’s Democratic debates:

“If [I’m] elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health, and when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in mental health.” 

The comment has some mental health advocates calling for an apology from Sanders.

Coverage from:

The Washington Post


Yahoo! News 


Journalists Write About Mental Illness in the Wake of the WDBJ Shootings

In Virginia late last month, Vester Flanagan shot and killed WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward while they were live on-air. According to many reports, an employer ordered Flanagan to seek counseling and others have speculated about the shooter’s mental state.

The murder of these two journalists has sparked considerable news coverage about mental health issues. The National Center on Disability and Journalism has compiled some of those stories below.

  • NPR: “Is Gun Violence Due To Dangerous People Or Dangerous Guns?” Reporters take a look at possible links between mental illness and violent crime, and whether this should inform the nation’s gun control laws. Read more


  • The Washington Post: “Here’s one prominent Republican’s plan to curb mass shootings”  Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex) proposes the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, which would reportedly strengthen mental health background checks for anyone seeking to buy a gun. Read more


  • The New York Times: “Virginia Shooting Spotlights Riddle of Workplace Safety”   This story explores how employers struggle to balance keeping an employee’s mental illness private and keeping the workplace safe. Read more


  • Huffington Post: “No, Donald Trump, The Problem Isn’t Mental Illness”  Lindsay Holmes, HuffPo’s Healthy Living Editor, takes on Donald Trump. The Republican presidential candidate said of the shootings, “This isn’t a gun problem — this is a mental problem.” Read more


  • The Root: “On-Air Shooting in Va. Puts Focus on Race and Mental Health”    At The Root, one writer examines how race might fit into the conversation about mental health in the workplace. Read more


  • The Dallas Morning News: “Op-Ed: Armed and angry, the formula for gun violence” Columnist Jacquielynn Floyd discusses the difference between rage and mental illness. Read more


  • Palm Beach Post: “Mental illness remains taboo in American workplaces, society”  Is mental illness still shrugged off in American society? Read more


NCDJ’s style guide also provides information on writing about mental health. You can find that resource here.


Level 14: A Home for California’s Most Troubled Children Comes Undone

In this investigative series into one of California’s largest group homes for children with mental disabilities and emotional disorders, ProPublica journalists expose failures at nearly every level to protect its troubled residents. The insitution at the center of the story, FamiliesFirst in Davis, was raided by police in June 2013 after a year of responding to hundreds of calls about drug use, rape, violence and negligence. According to reporter Joaquin Sapien’s explanation of how the story was covered, the investigators obtained data through public records requests and drew from interviews with more than three dozen subjects, including social workers and children who worked and lived in the home.

Read more, and watch the accompanying documentary “Sule’s Story,” at ProPublica.

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages: Fake Disability Claims

In a letter to the editor, Les Greene, president-elect of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, wrote a recent article about fraud charges against first responders was “hardly” shocking. The Jan. 7 article “Charges for 106 in Huge Fraud Over Disability,” detailed retired New York City police officers and firefighters accused of faking symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and other psychological injuries. According to Greene, “The tragedy is that compensation doled out by government agencies can be readily taken advantage of…by those who need to identify themselves as victims, and thus entitled to reparations by others.” Read more.