Announcing our new Headlining Mental Health Programme Cohort!

Posted 8 April 2021

According to Mind, over the last year, the number of adults in the UK experiencing depression has doubled to almost one in five. Mental health organisations are facing unprecedented levels of demand for their services. We are seeing an explosion in worsening mental health across populations, especially in the young, driven by a Covid legacy of missed education and looming youth unemployment. First hand experiences bring the message home more powerfully than data can but exposing vulnerable people to the uncompromising glare of the media can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems.

While public awareness of mental health is much higher than compared to even a few years ago, severe and enduring mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or psychosis, receive far less coverage than everyday conditions like anxiety or depression. Meanwhile, Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities are often left out of the narrative.

This is why Media Trust launched Headlining Mental Health, a new programme to strengthen the strategic communications capabilities of the mental health sector. Supported by the Gamesys Foundation, the programme will provide 20 small mental health organisations with a seven-month structured training programme to extend the power and reach of their communications

The Gamesys Foundation is delighted to be supporting Media Trust’s new Headlining Mental Health Programme. This is a cause which will touch so many of us over the course of our lives. Issues of mental health have long been met with stigma and mistrust within our society, but we believe that change is on the horizon. We know many small under-resourced mental health organisations struggle with their communications. We’re excited by the potential of this programme to make a real difference to smaller organisations while strengthening the voice of the sector overall.

Neil Goulden Image Neil Goulden, Trustee, Gamesys Foundation

Applications opened in February and we received over 40 applications for the 20 spots.

The organisations who applied to the programme are all doing phenomenal work which made the final selection very challenging. Our 20 selected organisations are supporting urban and rural populations right across the UK, marginalised and under-represented communities and individuals living with long-term mental health problems.

Cat Whitehouse, Project Manager for the Headlining Mental Health Programme at Media Trust

Over the course of the programme, our cohort of 20 charities will receive training in strategic communications, story-telling, creating cut-through content, engaging with the media, effective campaigning and social media. In addition, they will receive a 1-2-1 communications strategy review with media industry volunteers, media spokesperson training as well as peer-to-peer networking and support.

As part of the programme, over the course of 2021, Media Trust will also arrange media-industry led sector-wide communications masterclasses and media interview training for a diverse range of voices on mental health issues.

We are really excited about working with the 20 mental health organisations who will be taking part in our new Headlining Mental Health programme. We’re looking forward to connecting the charities with our media industry partners and helping them reframe their messaging, reach new audiences and share their impact, while ensuring people with lived experience of mental health issues feel safe, confident and empowered to share their stories.

Su-Mei Thompson, CEO at Media Trust

Meet our Headlining Mental Health 2021 Cohort:

Arts Network

Aspire Learning, Support and Wellbeing

Beacon Counselling

Conwy Mind

Creative Living Centre

Improving Lives



Mental Health Resource

Mental Health Independent Support Team

Mind in Bradford

Neath Port Talbot Mind

Oakleaf Enterprise

Proud2Be CIC

The Kids Network

The Moira Anderson Foundation

Tomorrow’s Women Wirral

Trust Links

We Hear You


And finally, we’d like to give a shout out to, and acknowledge the contribution of, our fantastic Advisory Group for the programme comprising representatives from Accenture, the BBC, BiPolar UK, Edelman, ITV, MediaCom, NSUN, Rethink Mental Illness, Snap, Twitter and Young Minds.

Read more news ...

Recognition for Headlining Mental Health Charities


Media Trust’s Headlining Mental Health team was out in force last month at the This Can Happen Conference and Awards.  With two charities from the Headlining Mental Health programme and numerous Media Trust partners shortlisted,...

Posted 11 July 2022

A large group of people posing with trophies at the This Can Happen Awards.