The Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative (SWMJC), a partnership of 12 media and educational organizations dedicated to strengthening local journalism, has been granted $20,000 to cover youth mental health issues in our area. 

Awarded by the national Solutions Journalism Network, the grant will fund a six-month solutions-journalism reporting project. The grant comes on the heels of the SWMJC’s successful two-year Mental Wellness Project, funded by SJN, which produced 75 stories on mental health topics in the region, including 47 that were translated into Spanish. The areas covered included mental health and caregivers, the mental health workforce crisis, children’s trauma and culturally competent care. All the stories can be seen on the collaborative’s website at

“To be asked by SJN to submit a proposal for a specialized six-month reporting project is an indication of the great work the collaborative members accomplished while covering mental health issues in the area,” says Melinda Clynes, SWMJC project manager and editor. Created in 2013, SJN is a national organization that supports local news media in creating coverage that investigates widely shared problems and explains how people are working to solve those problems.  

The SWJMC came together in 2019 for the purpose of strengthening the local news ecosystem in Southwest Michigan, to provide accurate and equitable coverage of Calhoun, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Cass counties, and to promote diversity of voices among journalists and sources in news coverage. Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative members are Bridge Michigan, Community Voices, Encore, MLive Kalamazoo Gazette, New/Nueva Opinion, NowKalamazoo, Public Media Network, Southwest Michigan Second Wave, Watershed Voice, Western Michigan University School of Communication, WMU Student Media Group, and WMUK-FM Public Radio.

The youth mental health reporting project will begin immediately and commence in October. 

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