Headlining Mental Health

A free two-month online course for mental health organisations who want to jump start their communications strategy

Applications have now closed.

Media Trust’s Headlining Mental Health programme supports UK mental health organisations to strengthen their strategic communications so they can increase their visibility and reach, challenge stigma and get their voices heard.

Now in its second year, the programme is offering a new free online Autumn course, from September to October, that will support you in developing your organisation’s communications strategy.

Communications are vital to reaching people who need support, and helping the public, partners and funders understand the importance of mental health work – but maintaining social media, websites, newsletters and leaflets can be time-consuming and demanding.

A communications strategy will guide, hone and help you evidence your communications work, making it more manageable, measurable and effective.

Designed with, and for, small mental health charities, this one-off course for 30 participants will comprise weekly workshops and support clinics over two months to help you design, implement, and measure the impact of your communications strategy.

Headlining Mental Health has been running since 2021 with funding from Bally’s Foundation and oversight from an Advisory Group of leading media and mental health organisations.

After completing last year’s programme:

  • 89% of participants rated their organisations’ ability to develop a communications strategy as very good or good
  • 94% of participants rated their organisations’ ability to grow and build their audience online as very good or good
  • 100% rated the programme overall as ‘very good’ or ‘good’

Headlining Mental Health was enjoyable, practical, useful and insightful.

Sharna Kennedy, Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, 2021 programme participant

Programme Overview

The programme includes:

  • Three live online training workshops delivered by a specialist trainer, with templates to complete
  • Three live online support clinics with industry experts after every session
  • Peer networking which will allow you to meet people from organisations across the UK and work together
  • A bonus masterclass from Creative Agency Few and Far on free ways to optimise your website

Accessibility support

Funded accessibility support is available throughout the course, including BSL interpreters, STTR live captioning, early access to materials, large print, content accessible to screen readers and hourly breaks. If you have other requirements, please let us know and we will be happy to try and accommodate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need previous communications experience?

No. This a beginner level course, aimed at all mental health charity professionals with responsibility for communications strategy.

What level of professional is this aimed at?

Participants can come from any level of your organisation, but must have support from their senior leaders to undertake the course and work collaboratively on the strategy with them, or the ability to influence their organisation’s strategy.

What is the time commitment?

The weekly time commitment is around half a day a week, which includes time to complete the homework templates.

Can more than one person from our organisation attend?

Only one participant per organisation can attend but workshops will be recorded and available via a secure intranet for you to share with colleagues.

When will the training take place?

There will be two groups running during September and October. You can choose to learn with the Tuesday or Thursday morning group.

I work with addictions / violence against women / research, can I apply?

Yes. The programme is open to a broad range of mental health organisations encompassing service provision, campaigning and research, wellbeing, addiction, the psychological effects of violence and abuse, and the mental health impacts of physical illness. Our only requirement is that mental health is the main focus of your organisation’s work.

Can I receive this information in a separate document?

If you would like a copy of this information in a separate document to take to your decision makers, please contact Lauren at laurenb@mediatrust.org

This Q&A will help you find out more about the programme, decide whether it's right for your organisation and understand the application process.

Our organisation now has a clear communications strategy which aligns with our objectives and enhanced key messages which are segmented to stakeholder groups.

Jen Williams, Mental Health Resource, 2021 programme participant

Important Dates

Applications open: 8 June 2022

Applications close: 22 July 2022

Successful organisations will be notified by 26 August 2022

Course begins: Week Commencing 5 September 2022

Course dates: The course will run from September – October 2022. There will be two groups – participants can choose to join the Tuesday or Thursday group.


This programme is designed for charities, CICs, social enterprises, coalitions or user-led groups who have been established for at least two years.

To apply to this programme, your organisation must:

  • Have a focus on mental health
  • Have an ambition to develop, rewrite or improve your communications strategy
  • Have a business, organisational or strategic plan in place to guide your organisation’s work
  • Carry out work in the UK (even if you also work internationally)
  • Be able to put forward one lead participant who can commit to:
    • attending every course activity, half a day a week from September to October 2022
    • completing homework and preparation work for the course, and supporting the evaluation of the programme by completing surveys
    • using the course to guide the strategic direction of your organisation or doing so with support from senior leaders
  • Have agreement and support from senior leadership or members of your organisation to be fully involved in the programme
  • Be able to share two years of organisational accounts, and a forecast, demonstrating the financial stability of your organisation (you will be asked to upload these at the end of the application)
  • Recognise that the programme is funded by Bally’s Foundation, who receive income from Bally’s Corporation, and give your permission to be listed as a beneficiary of the programme in Media Trust and Bally’s Group communications.

Our Corporate Partners

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