Headlining Mental Health

Mental Health is one of the most pressing issues of our time and one of Media Trust’s priority areas of focus in 2021. We know that many mental health organisations are operating under pressure, with more demand than ever for your services. Headlining Mental Health is an exciting new programme from Media Trust for small mental health organisations.

This programme is designed to help you extend the power and reach of your communications, supporting you in your mission, whether that’s to reach people who need to access support, to normalise conversations around mental health, or to make sure the voices of people living with mental health issues are heard.

Media Trust’s new Headlining Mental Health Programme, funded by Gamesys Foundation, will provide 20 organisations with a structured seven-month (March – September) programme of online communications skills training, mentoring by media and communications experts, media interview training and peer networking and support. The programme will also offer funding and free ad credits to help you put your learning into practice.

Using a combination of specialist charity sector trainers and experts from the media and creative industries, the programme will provide training and share best practice and ideas to help you to be more strategic with your communications. The programme will help you:

  • Communicate complex messages clearly
  • Raise your organisation’s profile and the impact of your work
  • Grow your audiences and connect with people who need mental health support
  • Engage with journalists and secure media coverage
  • Provide innovative and safe ways to make sure the voices of people living with mental health challenges are heard through storytelling and campaigns
  • Increase digital fundraising from the public or funding bodies
  • Advocate for changes in policy, funding or treatment

The programme has been planned and structured for online delivery, so organisations from across the UK can benefit.

The programme covers:

Communications skills workshops

A set of six group workshops designed to help you get to grips with key communications skills including framing your messages, creating a communications strategy, digital marketing, pitching to the press and campaigning. The sessions will be tailored to the needs of the group. Each workshop will be delivered over two week-day mornings, with activities to work on in between.

Industry support

Guidance and advice from a dedicated team of media and creative industry volunteer experts who will provide their creative input, planning expertise and ideas to help you develop a clear communications plan. Media Trust partners who have offered their support for this programme include Accenture, the BBC, Edelman, Facebook, Google, ITV, MediaCom, Snapchat and many more.

Media spokesperson training

Speaking to the media helps us share our story but many organisations worry about giving interviews or asking people who have experienced mental health problems to do so.

This co-produced training will provide guidance on preparing and supporting media spokespeople with mental health problems.

There will also be an opportunity for representatives from your organisation who have experienced mental health problems to have media spokesperson training.

Peer networking and support

The opportunity to meet other organisations for mutual support on your learning journey, joint working and networking, and possible joined up campaigning.


Each programme participant will be offered an optional cash grant of up to £2000 as well as free credits for Facebook and Snapchat ads to help put your communications plans into practice.

Expert insight sessions

Alongside the programme, there will be a series of industry insight sessions for the wider mental health sector, led by media and creative industry leaders to build your skills and confidence in communicating about mental health in the media and to wide audiences.

Who Should Apply?

This programme is designed for small mental health organisations and specifically for the team or person responsible for day-to-day communications at the charity. The course will be delivered online so you will need access to a laptop with a microphone and webcam, with Zoom and/or Teams installed, and an internet connection which you can use throughout the programme.

To apply for this programme, you must:

  • Be a registered charity, social enterprise, CIC or CIO
  • Carry out work in the UK (even if you also work internationally)
  • Focus primarily on mental health
  • Have an annual turnover of £2 million or less
  • Be able to provide 2 years of audited financial accounts and forecasting for the next 12 months if possible
  • Share a recent bank statement
  • Have a member of staff or volunteer who is responsible for communications – even if this is part of another role, for e.g. communications and fundraising, CEO etc
  • Be able to commit to attending the full course or having a staff member, volunteer or trustee attend every session
  • Have the support of the senior leadership team or trustees to join the programme
  • Be happy to be listed as a beneficiary of the programme on the Media Trust and Gamesys Foundation websites, in Media Trust external communications and any funding and impact reports relating to the programme.

In addition to the essential criteria, we particularly welcome applications from mental health organisations who:

  • Can show the impact of their work
  • Already have some communications platforms in place and can describe how the programme will help them make progress in this area
  • Face challenges and barriers which enhanced communications can help them with
  • Work intersectionally, or explicitly on mental health within a marginalised group (ethnicity, sexual orientation, sex, gender, disability, age, etc) with a particular emphasis on organisations led by and for people of colour, user led services or including people who use mental health services in their work
  • Support people living with long-term mental health problems which have a significant impact on their life, sometimes referred to as ‘severe and enduring’ or ‘chronic’ mental health problems
  • Work outside of London and the South-East.


Charities selected: 12 March 2021
The programme starts on 16 March and runs until early September.

Applications for the programme are now closed.

About our funder

The Gamesys Foundation was created, and is funded, by Gamesys Group and operates as an independent charity. Gamesys Group is one of the world’s leading gambling operators, with more than 25 million players around the globe.

The Foundation is committed to supporting causes that provide support to people with mental health problems or who focuses on research in the field of mental health. They follow strict principles of integrity, respect and independence.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact our Project Manager, Cat at catw@mediatrust.org.

Our Corporate Partners

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