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Covering Mental Health Issues


Mar 23, 2023




Teresa Shaak



Recently, Senator John Fetterman made headlines for seeking treatment for clinical depression.  Every day, across the state and country, individuals, families and communities are grappling with the impact of mental health illnesses.  Through this webinar you will learn from award-winning journalist Brett Sholtis how to report on this important and powerful topic, covering people as people.

With a focus on mental health as it relates to the criminal justice system, Sholtis spearheaded coverage for WITF. Through his stories, Sholtis spotlighted how people living with a mental health condition too often don’t get the help they need and end up incarcerated.  Conditions at county jails and prisons – showing how people who need help are often hurt instead  — were exposed.  At the same time, solutions that law enforcement and mental health professionals are trying were highlighted.

Both data-driven and deeply personal, the Through the Cracks series drew on experts and first-hand accounts to target problems and break down stigmas. Sholtis explored how untreated mental health issues were often the silent partner in other public health problems.  As Brett explains, “I profiled a woman living with a serious mental illness. She was living in her shed in the yard even though she had a house, and she was drinking water out of a stream because she believed her tap water wasn’t safe. Her parents were desperate to have her involuntarily committed for treatment. But since she didn’t want treatment, they couldn’t force her to get it. One year later, several women in the Bucks County jail contacted me. The woman from that story, named Kim, was now in a cell next to them – in horrific conditions.  Because they raised the alarm, we were able to get her out of jail within a week and moved to a state psychiatric facility. But one thing people kept saying to me after that: Kim’s situation was common. So I set out to learn how common.”

This one-hour GoToWebinar session is scheduled to begin promptly at 12 noon, eastern time, on Thursday, March 23.  Registrants must have both a computer and audio/phone in order to participate.

There is no cost for PNA members; $20 for non-members.

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A confirmation with log in instructions will be emailed to each registrant immediately upon registering and a reminder email will be sent one day and one hour prior to the session.


March 23, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation

This valuable PNA Foundation training is provided to members at no charge.

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Presented by: Brett Sholtis, Investigative Reporter, LNP/Lancaster Online

Brett Sholtis is an investigative reporter focused on extremism, voting systems and threats to democracy at LNP, Lancaster.  He was a health reporter for WITF/Transforming Health until early 2023. Sholtis is the 2021-2022 Reveal Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grantee for Mental Health Investigative Journalism with the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. His award-winning work on problem areas in mental health policy and policing helped to get a woman with schizophrenia moved from a county jail to a psychiatric facility. Prior to working at WITF, he was a business reporter at York Daily Record. Sholtis is a University of Pittsburgh graduate and a Pennsylvania Army National Guard Kosovo campaign veteran.