AgriLand journalist nominated for awards for article on farming and painkillers

AgriLand news journalist Kathleen O’Sullivan has been nominated for two national awards for her work on mental health in the agriculture sector.

The Kerry native has been nominated in the ‘Special Interest’ category in the Headline Mental Health Media Awards (MHMA) 2020 for her article which appeared in several publications.

It was entitled: ‘Hooked on painkillers: farming’s hidden addiction’ and focused on the growing trend of farmers becoming dependent on pain medicine, particularly after farm accidents.

Kathleen has also received a nomination for the ‘Student Journalism Award’ which recognises work, undertaken by a student as part of a course at a third-level institution, which relates to mental ill health.

Studies at University of Limerick

Kathleen studied a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with Law at University of Limerick (UL), finishing her four-year degree during the Covid-19 lockdown.

She did her first internship at 18, after her first year in college, in a national newspaper – covering breaking news, crime, business and human-interest stories.

She also did a stint with her local newspaper – The Kerryman – working as a news and features writer.

As part of her final year project, which was the production of the Limerick Voice newspaper with her colleagues in UL, Kathleen established the first business and agriculture sections in the paper in several years, and was editor and the main writer of both, having identified the significant need to cover more rural areas and issues.

It was her research/investigative project on painkiller addictions being a hidden but significant factor in farm accidents that has resulted in her nomination in the MHMAs.

She also investigated the effect that the reporting of traumatic stories can have on journalists’ own mental health.

Kathleen joined the every-growing team at AgriLand earlier this year.

Mental Health Media Awards

Established over a decade ago and relaunched in 2019, the MHMAs recognise excellence in media coverage of mental health issues.

They reflect the challenges, lived experience and realities of people living with mental ill health.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 2, 2020.