University of Washington
Need help now?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255
Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255

Call for entries: 2017 Washington Award for Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health & Suicide

Call for entries: 2017 Washington Award for Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health & Suicide

$500 award honors outstanding in-depth coverage of suicide and mental health; deadline to enter is Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Promotional graphic for Washington Award for Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health & Suicide. Entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Washington Award for Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health & Suicide. The award is jointly sponsored by Forefront Suicide Prevention and the University of Washington Department of Communication Journalism program to honor Washington State journalism that improves the public’s understanding of suicide prevention, behavioral illnesses, treatment, recovery, public policy and related topics.

Submissions will be accepted through August 1, 2017.

The award-winning journalist will receive $500 and be honored at the Oct. 18 anniversary celebration of Forefront Suicide Prevention, a social impact organization at the University of Washington School of Social Work dedicated to preventing suicide through systemic change, education, and advocacy.

Entries may include columns, investigative articles, editorials, broadcast segments, news, features, series, blogs and videos. Journalists can submit their own work or be nominated by a colleague or member of the community. The submission must have been published (online or in print) or broadcast between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.

Judging criteria will include how well the entry:

• Clarifies public understanding of issues experienced by people living with any or all of the following: mental health challenges; substance abuse; thoughts, attempts or completion of suicide;

• Conveys hope, recovery, and resiliency in the lives of people who are living with mental illnesses, recovering from substance abuse or suicide ideation;

• Sheds light on the importance of mental health treatment and suicide prevention in the community;

• Follows the AP Stylebook entry on mental illness, National Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide and Forefront’s Tips for Mental Health Reporting, and avoids terms and descriptions that contribute to stigma or suicide contagion, including in the headline and other graphic elements.

Entries should be submitted by email, with the subject line "Media Award" to Aimee Chou at no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 1.

Please include:

• a link to the entry

• the headline

• name, address and contact information for the journalist(s) involved

• the name of the news organization or independent news portal, and

• the date the piece first appeared.

If a publicly accessible link is not available, send the entry via e-mail attachment (ideally, showing original presentation). There is no entry fee, and multiple entries may be submitted.

Judging will be by a panel of experts drawn from mental health professionals, UW Department of Communication journalism faculty, and individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness, substance abuse or a death by suicide.

About the Washington Mental Health and Suicide Reporting Award

This award is a key part of Forefront’s media initiative to improve public understanding of suicide prevention, mental health, and hope and recovery. Previous winners are Deborah Horne, Michelle Millman, and Monique Ming Laven of KIRO News, Diana Hefley of Everett Daily Herald, Jacob Jones of the Inlander, Leah Sottile of the Pacific Islander, Maureen O’Hagan of Pacific Northwest Magazine and the Seattle Times, and Scott Hewitt of the Columbian.

For more information, contact Aimee Chou at