Irish Times journalist wins award for coverage of mental health

Patrick Freyne wins award for piece published on Ireland’s mental health pandemic

Jen Ronan in Limerick, who was featured in Patrick Freyne’s article. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

Jen Ronan in Limerick, who was featured in Patrick Freyne’s article. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

 

The Irish Times claimed one of the top prizes at the 2021 Headline Mental Health Media Awards on Wednesday – which recognise excellence in the coverage of mental health issues.

Patrick Freyne.
Patrick Freyne.

Patrick Freyne won the National Print/Online category for a piece published earlier this year: Ireland’s mental health pandemic: from crisis to emergency. The category was for a single news report or feature “that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental ill health” and the judges wrote that the article was “meticulously researched”.

Meg Walker was also nominated in the same category for a piece published in The Irish Times last January: During lockdown, my 11-year-old was hospitalised with an eating disorder.

The Irish Times were shortlisted in three categories, with the awards ceremony – hosted by Anton Savage – held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jennifer O’Connell and Damian Cullen were both nominated in the “Mental Health Content/Special Interest” category, which celebrates a specialist feature that deals with stories, topics or issues in, about or related to mental health. O’Connell’s article, Ireland’s teenage pariahs: ‘We are really at breaking point now’, was concerned with the impact Covid-19 has had on Irish teens. Cullen was nominated for, ‘I have far too many stories’: 30 Irish women on harassment and assault, which was published last March in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in London. The winners of the category were Paul Fennessy and Karen Leach for The42.ie: ‘I do not want any other child, any other young person or athlete to go through what I went through.’

Cullen was also nominated for the “Headline Impact Award”, along with Stefanie Preissner, Tommy Tiernan, Michelle Heffernan and Joe Finnegan. For a “broadcaster, publisher or individual working in any platform who has made an exceptional contribution to the national conversation around mental ill health”, the prize was taken by the presenter of the Tommy Tiernan Show, who judges said had the ability “to probe and to comfort all in one breath”.

Other winners included Karen Sinnott, who took the Special Recognition award for ‘A voice in the dark’ featured in New Ross Standard, and Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, which took the Headline Voice Media Award in partnership with See Change.

2021 Headline Media Awards – Winners & Shortlist

Mental Health Journalism | National Print/Online

Winner
- Ireland’s mental health pandemic: from crisis to emergency, Patrick Freyne for The Irish Times
Shortlist
- ‘During lockdown, my 11-year-old was hospitalised with an eating disorder’, Meg Walker for The Irish Times
- Nobody Tells You… what it’s like to be in a mental hospital, Sophie White for The Sunday Independent
- Living with bipolar disorder: ‘It is important for people to know that it is possible to have a mostly stable, happy life with this diagnosis’, Arlene Harris for Irish Independent
- Suicide organisations warn of exaggerated or false information being shared online, Seán Murray for TheJournal.ie

Mental Health Journalism | Local Print/Online

Winner
- Letting a light shine for fellow survivors, Fiona McGarry for The Clare Champion
Shortlist
- I was abused. But I am not broken. My life isn’t destroyed, Claire Ronan for Sligo Weekender
- Struggle of watching a friend fade away by Ann Murphy for The Echo
- Galway’s mental health services ‘creaking’, Dara Bradley for Galway City Tribune
- Tragedy of McGinley children could have been avoided with more transparent mental health treatment, Jacqueline Hogge for The Tuam Herald

Mental Health Broadcasting | Short Form

Winner
- Owenacurra residents devastated by proposed closure, Opinion line with PJ Coogan for Cork’s 96FM
Shortlist
- Lack of funding for Ireland’s eating disorder treatment plan revealed, Paul O’Donoghue for Newstalk
- Mother who considered killing herself and her children says mental health services failed her, Pat Kenny for Newstalk
- ‘I lost my Dad and my best friend’, Sheila Naughton for Northern Sound
- Farmers’ Awareness Head to Toe group, Mary Fanning for RTÉ Nationwide

Mental Health Content | Digital

Winner
- Intrusive Thoughts, A Lust for Life on Instagram Live
Shortlist
- Overcoming Social Anxiety, Blindboy Boatclub for The Blindboy Podcast
- ‘What’s the Story with Therapy, Mark?’, Stefanie Preissner for Basically with Stefanie Preissner
- Pieta Special - Boys Don’t Cry, Jan Ní Fhlanagáin for You OK?, an RTÉ podcast
- Brian Pennie: Bonus Time, Síle Seoige for Ready to Be Real

Special Recognition

Winner
- Karen Sinnott for ‘A voice in the dark’ featured in New Ross Standard
Shortlist
- Sophie White for ‘I have what she had’ featured in Irish Independent
- Blessing Dada for ‘Courage’ featured on A Lust for Life’s Selfie Show
- Karen Leach for ‘I do not want any other child, any other young person or athlete to go through what I went through’ featured in The42.ie
- Hazel Katherine Larkin for ‘Mother who considered killing herself and her children says mental health services failed her’ featured on The Pat Kenny Show

Headline Voice Media Award in partnership with See Change

Winner
- The Pat Kenny Show for Newstalk
Shortlist
- Voices in TheJournal.ie with Laura Byrne
- Irish Independent Health and Living with Yvonne Hogan
- Image Magazine with Amanda Cassidy
- Take a Break, Newstalk

Mental Health Broadcasting | Long Form

Winner
- I’m Fine, Outlier Collective for RTÉ Two
Shortlist
- Eating with the Enemy: Episode 4, Debbie Thornton & Jean Devlin for Virgin Media Television
- Concerns over Child Mental Health Services in Kerry, Treasa Murphy for Radio Kerry
- Sport Stories: Oisín McConville, Virgin Media Television
- Laochra Gael: Eoin Larkin, Ronan O’Donoghue & Hugh Walsh for TG4

Mental Health Content | Special Interest

Winner
- ‘I do not want any other child, any other young person or athlete to go through what I went through’, Paul Fennessy and Karen Leach for The42.ie
Shortlist
- Ireland’s teenage pariahs: ‘We are really at breaking point now’, Jennifer O’Connell for The Irish Times
- Kennedy consoled by the prospect of a more secure future after retiring at 23, Paul Dollery for The42.ie
- ‘I have far too many stories’: 30 Irish women on harassment and assault, Damian Cullen for The Irish Times
- ‘I’m a man with bulimia. Yes, we exist’, Michelle Heffernan for Image Magazine Online

Headline Impact Award

Winner
- Tommy Tiernan for The Tommy Tiernan Show
Shortlist
- Stefanie Preissner for Basically with Stefanie Preissner
- Michelle Heffernan for work across multiple outlets
- Damian Cullen for The Irish Times Health & Family
- Joe Finnegan for The Joe Finnegan Show