New Canadian journalism award shines spotlight on workplace mental health

LONDON, ON, Nov. 10, 2016 /CNW/ - A new award has been created for journalists reporting on mental health issues in the workplace. The $1,000 prize is being offered by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, in connection with its widely-used journalist-to-journalist guide, Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health. 

The Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting will be open to Canadian journalists or media organizations working in any medium, in English or French, the Forum announced today. Submissions must have received their first publication in Canada in the calendar year 2016, but self-published work is not eligible.

"We are trying to encourage bold acts of journalism in the public interest," said Forum president Cliff Lonsdale. "The independent jury will be asked to give preference to stories that are either incisive or investigative."

He added: "Social stigma around mental illness is decreasing, but too many people still automatically associate mental illness with violence. People with mental illnesses are far, far more often the victims of violence than the perpetrators, and it's important for journalists to get that fact across."

The award, to be presented in April, 2017 at the national conference of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) in Ottawa, is sponsored by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. The Centre is a leading source of free, practical tools and resources designed to help all Canadian employers with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues.

Applications must be made through the Forum, not through CAJ. An online application form can be accessed through any of the Forum, Mindset or En-Tête websites.

The award's rules define "work" and "workplace" broadly, to capture volunteer as well as paid work and include a wide variety of places in which work is carried out. 

"There's growing awareness that mental illness affects about 20% of Canadians at any given time," Lonsdale said, "so it's clearly an important issue for everyone – paid workers and volunteers, managers and unions – in all kinds of work settings. There are lots of important stories for journalists to bring out of the shadows, breaking down stigma."

Mindset, and its French counterpart En-Tête : reportage et santé mentale, were published in 2014 to help general assignment reporters deal with breaking stories that involve mental illness. More than 6,000 copies are in use in newsrooms and journalism schools across the country.  The guides are supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, using a grant from Health Canada, and by CBC News. The Forum is solely responsible for their content.

"We're looking at this award as a pilot project," Lonsdale said. "There are many areas of mental health reporting worthy of Mindset awards if appropriate sponsors can be found."

The Forum is an educational charity concerned with the physical and emotional wellbeing of journalists, their audiences and those they report about.

Our thanks to CNW Group for supporting this announcement.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

Image with caption: "Poster: Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at:

For further information: Please see the Mindset website www.mindset-mediaguide or contact Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, ‪1-519 852-4946,

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