Celebrating stories that break down stereotypes, engage audiences and enhance the public’s understanding of mental health issues.

Previous MHMA ceremonies

Established over a decade ago and relaunched in 2019, Headline’s Mental Health Media Awards recognise excellence in media coverage of mental health issues. They reflect the challenges, lived experience and realities of people living with mental ill health

Key dates:

  • Submissions open: 1 September 2021
  • Submissions close: 24 September 2021
  • Shortlist announced: 2 November 2021
  • Awards ceremony: 1 December 2021

What are the Mental Health Media Awards?

  • The Awards recognise excellence in media coverage of mental health issues, celebrating those whose work brings to light challenging stories of mental ill health. With 10 categories, the Awards highlight work from all media platforms across local and national media.
  • The focus is on stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health. Special categories have been added to recognise the decision makers behind the scenes who facilitate and encourage impactful, inclusive and informed stories.
  • Entries open for The Awards in September this year, with the ceremony taking place in December.

Why enter the Awards?

  • A unique opportunity to be recognised by some of the industry’s top professionals for achieving excellence in your approach to stories of mental ill health, while also being recognised by the mental health community.
  • Only awards in Ireland dedicated to recognising excellence in mental health media
  • Almost 20% of the Irish population were recorded as having a mental health disorder in 2016. These awards recognise the crucial role Irish media plays in encouraging suicide prevention and stigma reduction content.
  • The Awards are diverse and open to entries from professional media anywhere in the Ireland.


The objective of the awards is to give national recognition to published works or broadcasts which:


  • Foster greater public understanding of mental health issues
  • Challenge stereotypes and stigma associated with mental health difficulties with the highest standard of journalism
  • Inform and educate audiences as to the lived experience of people living with mental health difficulties
  • Disclose practices or procedures needing reform so as to encourage the development and modernisation of Ireland’s mental health services

2020 Winners

Mental Health Journalism | National Print/Online

For a single print or online news report or feature, published in a national news outlet, that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health.

  • “There’s no deadline for healing”, Jennifer O’Connell for The Irish Times

Mental Health Journalism | Local Print/Online

For a single print or online news report or feature, published in a regional or local news outlet, that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health.

  • Importance of being Jamie, Owen Ryan for Clare Champion

Mental Health Broadcasting | Short Form

For a single factual television or radio feature/ documentary related to mental ill health.

  • Nationwide: Kinvara Alive, Marian Malone and Matt Kelly for RTÉ

Mental Health Broadcasting | Long Form

For a factual journalistic or magazine programme broadcast on television or radio, either standalone or one episode from a series, that deals with current stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health.

  • The Unteachables, Kim Bartley and Aoife Kavanagh on RTÉ

Mental Health Content | Special Interest

For a feature article (550 words or longer) published in print or online that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental health. This may include specialist features such as sport, music, food and health and may be published across any platform, including newspaper supplements or magazines.

  • Speak or Survive: Does Ireland Write Off Survivors of Sexual Violence, Peter McGuire for TheJournal.ie

Mental Health Content | Digital

For websites, podcasts, interactive online features, apps, interactive documentaries and other digital technologies that use creative and innovative techniques and content to extend knowledge and understanding of, and engagement with, mental ill health.

  • Pantisocracy with Panti Bliss, Rory O’Neill/Panti Bliss for RTÉ Radio 1

Headline Voice Media Award in partnership with See Change

For a publisher, in print or online, or broadcaster who has demonstrated excellence in the quality and quantity of coverage given to people with self-experience of mental ill health.

  • Paul O’ Neill, Irish Times

Headline Impact Award

For a broadcaster, publisher or individual working in any platform who has made an exceptional contribution to the national conversation around mental ill health.

  • Maurice Gubbins, Editor, Echo Live Cork

Headline Student Journalist Award

For a piece of media, including radio, digital or print, made by a student as part of a journalism or media course at a university or third level institute that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to the mental health.

  • Hooked on painkillers: farming’s hidden addiction, Kathleen O’Sullivan, University of Limerick

Special Recognition

For a non-media professional who has made a valuable contribution to mental health content.

  • Sheila Naughton, The Road to Recovery interview on RTE Radio 1

Categories 2020

Headline’s Mental Health Media Awards celebrate work across 10 categories and a wide range of media platforms, highlighting the unique role of journalists, producers and storytellers in making brave editorial decisions while limiting harm to vulnerable audiences.

Submission Process

  • Please read through the Award Entry Rules carefully before applying.
  • Headline will create a longlist based on the work’s adherence to the rules of entry. The judging panel will then decide a short list of 3 entries per category, to be announced in November. All shortlisted nominees will be invited to the awards ceremony in December, where one winner per category will be announced.
  • Entries are judged by our panel of distinguished professionals, each carefully selected from the media and non-profit sectors for their wide-ranging experience and expertise on media and mental health. Please remember to allow sufficient time and attention to providing supporting information where specified in the submission form.

Award Entry Rules

  • Entries will open on 01 September 2020 and remain open for the month of September, closing at midnight on September 30.
  • Only work originally published or broadcast between the period 01 October 2019 to 30 September 2020 will be considered.
  • Headline’s Mental Health Media Awards are open to any professional work broadcast or published in Ireland during the specified time period.
  • Entries may be made by a nominating party/member of the public/colleague or by the author/producer/nominee themselves.
  • The principal occupation of the author(s)/broadcaster(s) of work entered in the respective categories must be one of the following: journalist, broadcaster or producer. They must also ordinarily work in Ireland and/or work for newspapers/news websites published in Ireland or production companies whose work is broadcast in Ireland. Note: Exceptions to this rule are the Headline Impact Award, Special Recognition Award and Student Award categories.
  • All entries must be made via the online entry system. Files must be submitted in .pdf format only and must be less than 10MB in size. For links to online content please include a password for viewing, where required.
  • Personal social media accounts will not be accepted as entries in any category.
  • The volume of nominations will not have an impact on the judges’ decision. A piece of work with 10 nominations will be considered in the same light as a piece with one nomination.
  • Third party nominators may enter only one nominee per category.
  • Entrants for the Student Award must be a current student of a third level course or have graduated since 01 January 2020.
  • All entries related to suicide or self-harm must comply, as far as is possible, with the Samaritans Media Guidelines.
  • Headline receives positive feedback from members of the public on many reports and broadcasts made through the year. Often journalists or producers are unaware of the positive impact a piece can have on audiences who relate to their content. With this in mind, Headline may nominate work for inclusion the various categories.
  • Headline and the Judging Panel may move work to another category if deemed appropriate.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

Judges’ Advice

What makes a winning entry?

  • Complying with the Samaritan’s media guidelines, as far as possible
  • Research and fact checking your stats and information
  • A good balance between personal testimony and expert opinion/factual research
  • Seeking comment from relevant bodies in the sector where necessary/appropriate

What elements will prevent your entry from winning?

  • Including graphic photo or video content
  • Including excessive detail related to suicides or self-harm (methodology, note contents)
  • Simplifying a reason for suicide or self-harm, especially in cases of celebrity deaths or Covid-19
  • Using stigmatising language (see Samaritans Media Guidelines for more info)

About Headline

Headline is Ireland’s national programme for responsible reporting, and representation of mental illness and suicide. Our objective is to work as collaboratively as possible with Irish media professionals across print, broadcast, and online platforms to reduce the effects of suicide contagion, and the stigma attached to mental ill health.