March 19, 2021
Best of the Week
With extraordinary access to a psychiatric unit, AP reveals pandemic’s toll on children’s mental health
To explore the pandemic’s devastating toll on children’s mental health, AP’s Paris team gained extraordinary access to the psychiatric unit at France’s busiest pediatric hospital.
Paris correspondent John Leicester worked for months to build trust with hospital authorities and workers. Once inside, Leicester, photographer Christophe Ena and video journalist Nicolas Garriga discreetly documented activity in the unit while protecting the privacy of the young patients. Told notably through the story of an 11-year-old who starved himself so severely that he required emergency care, the package showed how the mental health of children is affected under the weight of lockdowns, curfews, family upheavals and school closures.
The resulting all-formats package — including evidence of the problem in other parts of the world — was widely used by AP customers.
For a sustained effort to gain access, and sensitive, revealing coverage on this issue touching children and families globally, the trio of Leicester, Ena and Garriga earns AP’s Best of the Week award.