Irish Examiner wins national award for responsible coverage of mental health

The Irish Examiner has won Headline’s Overall Media Award for responsible coverage of mental health and suicide-related issues in Ireland.

Headline, the national media monitoring programme for mental health and suicide, awarded the prize at the commemoration of its 10th year in operation.

Thousands of articles across print and online media were monitored and compared against international media guidelines on the reporting of mental health and suicide in order to determine the overall award winner.

“Headline recognises the excellent work by media professionals in the Irish Examiner and their outstanding coverage of the difficult issues surrounding mental health and suicide in a positive and responsible way,” said a spokesperson for Headline yesterday.

John Saunders, director of Headline, said the media plays an important role in how the public thinks about suicide and mental health.

“Positive coverage of mental health and suicide encourages help-seeking behaviour and helps to remove the stigmas and myths that surround these issues,” Mr Saunders said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Irish Examiner for their excellent work in this area.”

Another prize was given to the Irish Examiner’s sister paper, the Evening Echo — the Regional Media Award for positive coverage of mental health and suicide.

Acting editor of the Irish Examiner , Allan Prosser, said he was pleased that the paper’s consistent work in the area was being recognised.

“The Irish Examiner is pleased that its consistent work in reporting in a balanced fashion on mental health and suicide has been recognised and acknowledged,” said Mr Prosser.

“This is a subject that we have felt to be important for at least the past decade and we have invested resources, including the work of some of our best reporters, in ensuring that the topics are covered fairly and with full recognition of the human side of every story.”

Several speakers delivered talks on the topic of suicide and mental health at yesterday’s symposium, including Dr Brian Farrell, the Dublin district coroner.

Other speakers included Gerry Raleigh from the National Office of Suicide Prevention and Ella Arensman of the National Suicide Research Foundation.

Prof Arensman told the audience “safer reporting will lead to saving lives”.

She also referred to trends in media reporting of mental health and suicide-related issues.

“In 76% of articles, no reference was made to services and that’s one important guideline to give people information on credible, accessible services,” Prof Arensman said.

She also explained that many articles “were very focused on methods”.

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