2019 National Media Award Winners

Joy Lambert
1st Place Winner

Emerging Issues in Suicide Prevention
Submission: I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This
Summary: After months of research and enterprising, we uncovered a suicide crisis in one Baltimore community. Four suicides in four months, and several more attempts, at one Latino Catholic church. It’s a suicide epidemic among young immigrants and children of immigrants. The Priest says it started after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raided cities across the country, arresting hundreds of immigrants, including five in Baltimore City. Now the church is on a mission to stop the crisis. In this report, we bring the crisis out of the shadows and highlight how a nationally renowned hospital is trying to help.

Dave DeNatale
1st Place Winner

Mental Health Recovery Story
Submission: “Coming Back To Life: WKYC’s Dave “Dino” DeNatale reveals his battle with depression and anxiety”
Summary: “Coming Back To Life” is a first-hand account of the ongoing battle I have fought with depression and anxiety. This includes the journal from my stay at the Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital Behavioral Health Center after I hit rock bottom, the events that caused me to realize that I needed help, and the things I’m doing now to try to protect myself. The submission also features WKYC Channel 3 anchor Russ Mitchell, who sat down with me for a one-on-one interview and put together a visual re-telling of my story. If one person is positively impacted by this story, then I feel I’ve done my job.

Cheryl Platzman Weinstock
1st Place Winner

Special Feature Story on Suicide
Submission: “The hidden danger of suicide in autism
Summary: People with autism are capable of having suicidal thoughts and acting upon them, but because they have poor social and communication skills it can be hard to tell if they are thinking of suicide. In fact, recent studies have shown how that people with autism die by suicide between five and seven times more often than the general population. Suicide is a critical issue for people on the spectrum, but few people with a loved one with ASD know about this risk.

As a result of my deep dive into the hidden danger of suicide among people with autism many individuals wrote in to say they finally received the help they needed for themselves or their children with the disorder. An individual with autism and suicidal thoughts wrote in after publication to say, “We’ve had to live with it[suicide] all our lives as a ‘clear and present danger.’ It’s been hidden from everyone else because no one sat and ‘listened’ until now, that is.”

Theresa McSpadden, who was profiled in the story with her son, Noah, wrote in to say, “The story did help me reframe how I think about Noah and his statements about suicide. It helped to know that I’m not alone.”

The story was especially timely. In July 2018, Sarah Cassidy reported in Molecular Autism that she was able to confirm there are independent, unique risk factors for suicidality in people with autism. In December, the American Association of Suicidology developed a tool kit to identify a person with autism in crisis.

The story was syndicated by The Atlantic and featured on the weekly Spark by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.