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First Mindset Award goes to Globe and Mail series on suicide by Afghanistan veterans

OTTAWA, April 29, 2017 /CNW/ - A team of Globe and Mail reporters has won the inaugural Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting. The award was presented tonight at a gala dinner in Ottawa.

The winning series "The Unremembered" commemorated 31 Afghanistan war veterans who took their own lives after returning to Canada. It called into question whether the Canadian government and military had done enough to help them heal from their trauma.

Reporters Renata D'Aliesio, Les Perreaux and Allan Maki collaborated on the work, which was published last November. The series was the unanimous choice of an independent panel of judges appointed by the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.

One juror said: "I would rank it among the classics of journalism… journalism in the public interest at its best." Another described the exposé as "minutely explored, carefully elaborated, and powerfully presented."

The Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting is linked to Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health / En-Tête : Reportage et Santé Mentale, a bilingual field guide for journalists controlled editorially by the Forum. The project is supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, with funds from Health Canada, and by CBC News.

The award is sponsored by the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. It was presented during the annual awards gala of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

All five of the entries chosen as finalists received praise from the judges. One of them said: "The journalism is thoroughly professional and passionate and it's very encouraging to see such great work being produced right across Canada - at a time when the news industry is generally underfunded and in a state of relative turmoil.'"

The jury also picked two finalists for high commendations:

  • Don Butler, of The Ottawa Citizen, was recognized for a series about the psychological stress endured by workplace whistleblowers who face ruthless institutional retaliation.
  • David P. Ball was recognized for his two-month investigation for The Tyee about the struggle of B.C. first responders to persuade WorkSafeBC, the province's workers' compensation board, that their psychological problems should be presumed to be work-related, unless shown otherwise.

The main award includes a cash prize of $1,000, and high commendations bring cash prizes of $250.

Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, said: "We commend Renata, Les and Allan and all of the nominees for their integrity in how they tell the stories of people who are experiencing mental health issues in the workplace, and for helping to combat associated stigma so that others feel freer to come forward with their own experiences."

She added: "New research commissioned by the Centre shows that 87.2% of national survey respondents reported improvements in media coverage of workplace mental health issues since 2007."

Our thanks to CNW Group for supporting this announcement.