Denise Davy of The Hamilton Spectator is the winner of the 2008 Michener-Deacon Fellowship. The Fellowship was presented during the annual Michener Award ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on June 13, 2008.
Ms. Davy won high praise from the judging panel for her proposal to investigate and report on “the crisis in children’s mental health and shine a light on this most urgent and neglected issue.” She quoted former Senator Michael Kirby, past chair of a major national report on mental illness, who said that children’s mental health services are “the most neglected piece” of Canada’s health care system.
More of our children are being diagnosed with mental health disorders but the majority are not getting the treatment they so desperately need, Ms. Davy says. This often leads to over-medication of some young people, but we do not know the long-term effects of such treatments.
Thus, she has named her project As the Twig is Bent, referring to how the neglect of children with mental health problems will impact on their long-term health and well-being. (Update: Ms Davy’s series of articles on Canada’s children’s mental health crisis are now available at the following Hamilton Spectator web site: One In Five)
In unanimously supporting her project, the judges found that her presentation “made a strong case for the relevance and viability of the topic.” The writing samples she submitted “gave a clear sense that she knew how to communicate a story of this type; her career record … gave confidence that the project will come to fruition.” The Fellowship will allow her to study the status of children’s mental health services across Canada. (Update: Davy Fellowship Report)
Denise Davy is a reporter for the Hamilton Spectator and has covered health and social issues since 1986. She has written extensively on poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, welfare fraud and child abuse. Her years at the Spectator have garnered her several awards from the Ontario Newspaper Association, including first place for best beat reporter and Journalist of the Year in 1997.
She is a past recipient of the Asia Pacific Fellowship which allowed her to study child prostitution in Thailand. In 1995 she won a fellowship with the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development which supported her study of family planning programs in India.
She is also co-founder of the national Women in the Media conference (1991) for which she was honoured with an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Ms Davy makes her home in southern Ontario where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Rideau Hall – June 13, 2008
Judges for the 2008 Michener-Deacon Fellowship:
Lindsay Crysler (chair), former managing editor of The Gazette, Montreal; former director journalism department, Concordia University, Montreal; Clinton Archibald, professor of public ethics, St. Paul University, Ottawa; Lynne Van Luven, associate professor of journalism & creative non-fiction, University of Victoria; Erin Steuter, chair of the sociology department, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB; Professor Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications, McGill University.
The fellowship of the Michener Awards Foundation, introduced in 1987, is known today as the Michener-Deacon Fellowship (named after the late Roland Michener and the late Paul Deacon, a senior media executive and Michener Awards Foundation president). The fellowship is to encourage excellence in investigative print and broadcast journalism that serves the public interest through values that benefit the community. Mature journalists are invited to submit written outlines for studies over four months that will strengthen their competence.