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Global News journalists win health reporting award for investigative series

Click to play video: 'Tortured Mind: Personal stories of mental illness and youth suicide' Tortured Mind: Personal stories of mental illness and youth suicide
WATCH: The mental health crisis among Canadian youth has seen an alarming increase in youth suicide in recent years. Global News spoke to several people who have been affected by this troubling trend – Nov 13, 2016

Two Global News online journalists have been honoured for their health reporting by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

Carmen Chai and Andrew Russell won the RNAO Media Award for best online story for their November 2016 investigative series called Tortured Mind. The three-part investigation looked at how Canadian schools are addressing mental health literacy and what happens when it isn’t taught to adolescents and teens.

Russell, an investigative journalist, travelled to Woodstock, Ont. to hear firsthand from high school students about the tragic consequences of ignoring mental health. He obtained data from the Ontario government that pointed to a significant increase in the number of youth, aged 10 to 19, who have taken their lives. The numbers also shed light on the dramatic spike in hospitalization rates for self-harm.

With the personal stories and data in tow, Russell shed light on the plight Ontario students are grappling with in the face of rising mental health issues. He also spoke with leading experts to learn more about what can be done in schools to help young people in the province.

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Chai interviewed child psychologists on the front lines who described how a lack of mental health education is hurting Canadian adolescents. She also spoke with academics specializing in the field of mental health literacy to consider how programs should be rolled out across the country.

This is Chai’s third RNAO award.

“It is our honour to recognize these outstanding journalists, who have worked diligently to share the stories of Ontarians on all sides of our health system,” RNAO president Carol Timmings said in a statement.

“Free and independent journalism is a pillar of our strong democracy, and we couldn’t be prouder of our award winners,” she said.

Chai and Russell will be honoured with other winners at the nurses’ association annual general meeting in Toronto on April 28.

See the full list of winners.

Read the full Tortured Mind series.

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways for getting help if you, or someone you know, is suffering from mental health issues.

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