AgriLand journalist wins award for article on painkiller addiction in farming

AgriLand news journalist Kathleen O’Sullivan has won the Headline Mental Health Media Awards (MHMA) 2020 ‘Student Journalist Award’.

It was announced today (Wednesday December 2) during a virtual awards ceremony.

The Kerry native was also nominated in the ‘Special Interest’ category, for her story: ‘Hooked on painkillers: farming’s hidden addiction’ which focused on the growing trend of farmers becoming dependent on pain medicine, particularly after farm accidents.

Kathleen said she is honoured to have won the award, which was sponsored by, and to have “brought this important issue to light”.

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 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 news 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.