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

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: 30 August 2024
  • Submissions close: 22 September 2024
  • Shortlist announced: 31 October 2024
  • Awards ceremony: 4 December 2024

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 August 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 experiencing mental health challenges in 2018. 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 Republic of Ireland.

Guidelines

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.

CATEGORIES 2024

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. Click each category for individual descriptions. For further clarification, see ‘Entry Rules’ section below.

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 entry rules. The judging panel will then select a shortlist of 5 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

General

  • Entries will open on 30th August 2024 and close at midnight on 22 September 2024.
  • Only work originally published or broadcast between the period 23 September 2023 and 22 September 2024 will be considered. Please make sure the publication date is clearly visible in any file or link you submit.
  • The principal occupation of the author(s)/broadcaster(s) of work entered in the respective categories must be one of the following: journalist, broadcaster, researcher, producer or editor. Note: Exceptions to this rule are the Special Recognition Award, Digital Award, and Student Award categories.
  • Media professionals must ordinarily work in Ireland and/or work for newspapers/news websites published in Ireland or production companies whose work is broadcast in Ireland.
  • All entries must be made via the online entry system. Files must be submitted in PDF format, or mp4 for audio or video submissions, and must be less than 100MB in size. For links to online content please include a password for viewing, where required.
  • All entries related to suicide or self-harm must comply, as far as is possible, with the Samaritans Media Guidelines.
  • In instances where insufficient entries for a category are received, the category will not proceed.

Nominations

  • Entries may be made by a third party or by the nominee themselves.
  • No more than 2 entries per nominee, per category are allowed. No more than 5 entries per nominee across all categories are allowed.
  • 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.
  • For productions or publications where a collaboration has taken place, if shortlisted, you will be contacted by Headline to specify who should be credited in the shortlist.

Content

  • Personal social media accounts will not be accepted as entries in any category.
  • For a piece of media to be considered broadcast, it must have been played on a national or local radio or television station.
  • Short Form Broadcast pieces constitute a segment of a programme, i.e., a section in a news or current affairs programme. Long Form Broadcast pieces constitute a self-contained episode of a show or series or a standalone feature, i.e., a documentary.

Students

  • Entrants for the Student Award must be a current student of a third level course (i.e., diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate) or have recently graduated (within 2024).
  • Where a student is one of several collaborators on a piece they nominate or are nominated for, nominees/nominators must give a detailed account of the student’s role on the nominated piece of media (i.e., researcher, writer, presenter, producer), and why their input makes the piece worthy of awarding.
  • 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.
  • The bursary will be made available to winners who take up the newsroom placement only.
  • Work that has received professional editorial oversight should not be entered. For example, work that was completed during a work placement for a professional publication or outlet.
  • Entries may also be included from student publications or stations, provided that entry did not receive any professional editorial oversight.

Judging

  • 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 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.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

JUDGES' ADVICE

What makes a winning entry?

  • Compelling storytelling, demonstrating clear understanding of complex narratives
  • Research and fact checking your stats and information.
  • A good balance between personal testimony and expert opinion/factual research.
  • Storytelling that breaks down stereotypes and enhances audiences’ understanding of complex mental health.

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 high profile deaths or Covid-19.
  • Using stigmatising language (see Samaritans Media Guidelines for more info).

PREVIOUS AWARDS CEREMONIES

Accessibility

Print & Online | National

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

Print & Online | Local

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

Print & Online | Special Interest

For a feature article (550 words or longer) published in print or online that deals with stories 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 and magazines.

Digital Content

For podcasts, interactive online features, apps, interactive documentaries and other digital technologies that use creative, innovative techniques and content to enhance understanding of and engagement with mental health. Must not have been broadcast. For podcasts, specify just one episode for nomination.

Broadcast | Long Form

For a factual, long form feature/documentary, broadcast on television or radio, that deals with stories related to mental health. Long form broadcast pieces constitute a self-contained episode of a show or series or a standalone feature, i.e., a documentary.

Broadcast | Short Form

For a factual, short form, news clip/segment/interview, broadcast on television or radio, that deals with stories related to mental health. This can include content from magazine-style programmes and current affairs programmes, for example.

Student Journalism Award

For a piece of media, including radio, digital or print made by a student as part of a course at a university or third level institute, that deals with stories related to mental health. Entries may also be included from student publications or stations, provided that entry did not receive any professional editorial oversight. The winner of this award will receive a one-week reporting placement with our publication partner TheJournal.ie, along with a bursary for expenses. See rules for further details.

Special Recognition Award

For people with lived experience of mental health challenges who share their story with the media to help and educate a wider audience.

Refugee Mental Health Award supported by UNHCR and Irish Red Cross

For a piece of media, across print, broadcast or digital, that deals with current stories related to the mental health experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland. New in 2024, this award is supported by the UNHCR and the Irish Red Cross to promote responsible and sensitive coverage of the unique mental health challenges facing these communities.