Column: Lopez helps erase stigma of mental illness

Those of you who were at last fall’s Urban Health Journalism Workshop – and those of you who weren’t – might find Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Dean Arlene Notoro Morgan’s recent column about Steve Lopez on interesting.

Steve Lopez

Steve Lopez

At the Urban Health Journalism Workshop, Lopez told the story of meeting homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers, who has schizophrenia, and the lessons he learned from that experience. (Listen to an MP3 version of Lopez’ speech here.) Lopez’ book about the experience, “The Soloist,” will be released as a motion picture starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx on April 24.

Morgan, who worked with Lopez at The Philadelphia Inquirer, shares memories of the columnist, of her own family’s struggle with mental illness and the effect Lopez’ and Ayers’ story has had on the fight against the stigma of mental illness. Morgan also talks about her longtime advocacy for the mentally ill and balancing that with her career as a journalist., a news site about mental illness, is a project of the Incubator Program of the Fund for the City of New York. It’s a nonprofit that says it does not accept advertising or support from pharmaceutical companies.

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