Headlining Mental Health

Want to strengthen your mental health organisation’s strategic communications?

Mental health is increasingly on the news agenda, but many mental health organisations are reluctant or struggle to engage with the media.

Media Trust’s Headlining Mental Health programme can support your mental health organisation to strengthen its strategic communications and media engagement skills, enabling you to increase your visibility and reach, challenge stigma, and get your voice heard in the media.

Now in its second year, the programme is offering a new free media engagement course from March – June 2022. This course will support 20 mental health organisations and user-led groups that want to influence public perceptions and call for change through increased media coverage.

The four-month intensive course will equip you with the skills and networks to secure coverage, give great interviews, meaningfully include the voices of people with mental health problems, and develop impactful campaigns to influence social and policy change.

The course has been shaped using feedback from the 20 organisations who took part in the first Headlining Mental Health programme in 2021.

The programme is funded by Gamesys Foundation.

Headlining Mental Health has fundamentally increased awareness of our charity. We can better communicate the needs of people in our community, and encourage more people to access our services… our capabilities and confidence in engaging with the media and communicating our message of support have broadened significantly, enabling us to truly highlight mental health.

Anne Marie Edwards, Neath Port Talbot Mind, 2021 programme participant

This programme includes:

Live online training

A series of online workshops delivered by expert trainers, covering topics like framing complex issues, engaging journalists and securing interest in your stories, and navigating structural, ethical and safety issues for media spokespeople with mental health problems.

Media interview training

This will cover how to give powerful radio and TV interviews, including a mock interview and personal feedback. You’ll also learn about how to train spokespeople within your own organisation.

Peer networking

Regular online ‘coffee catch ups’ to network with programme participants, get help with homework, and meet participants from our previous Headlining Mental Health programmes.

Support to develop a campaign (TBC)

We will link you to industry experts from a leading agency for pro bono support with planning a campaign on a topic of your choice.

Your organisation’s ‘Charity Challenge Day’ is a chance for you to work with your own team of expert advisors.


With your campaign planned, and the skills to launch it, we will introduce you to journalists from a range of media outlets for a quick-fire ‘speed-pitching’ event so you can connect with journalists who are interested in mental health stories and get feedback on your pitch.

Programme dates

  • The programme will run from March – June 2022. Training will be online, via Zoom.
  • Most workshops will take place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 10.00 – 12.30.
  • You will be asked to attend two full day sessions from 10.00 – 16.00
  • We’ll give you all the dates for the course in advance, to help you plan.


This programme is designed for charities, CICs, CIOs, social enterprises, coalitions or user-led groups.


To apply to this programme, your organisation must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Has a primary focus on mental health
  • Has ambitions to increase media coverage that includes the voices of people with mental health problems
  • Your organisation works in the UK (even if also working internationally)
  • There is a member of staff or volunteer responsible for communications (even if this is not their full-time role)
  • The lead participant can commit seven to eight hours a week from March – June 2022 to attend sessions and complete pre-work and homework. Your organisation may send a different volunteer or member of staff to a session if the named person cannot attend.
  • You have agreement and support from senior leadership or members of your organisation to be fully involved in the programme
  • Your organisation acknowledges that the Headlining Mental Health programme is funded by Gamesys Foundation, who receive income from Gamesys Group, and agreement to be listed as a beneficiary of the programme in Media Trust and Gamesys Foundation communications.
  • Charities, coalitions, CICs and social enterprises, we also require you to supply:
    1. two years of financial accounts
    2. a profit and loss or cashflow forecast for the next 12 months, demonstrating financial stability
  • For user-led groups without financial accounts, we require your organisation to provide details of social media accounts and/or web content demonstrating consistent activity for at least six months

Important Dates

Successful organisations will be notified by 4 March 2022

Programme begins: 10 March, 10.00 – 12.30

Participants welcomed to the programme

Got a question about the Headlining Mental Health programme? Watch our Q&A with Programme Manager Cat Whitehouse.

Our Corporate Partners

We enjoy outstanding support from the media industry. Our partners include: