Education, Awards

& Bursaries



Mental Health Ireland are proud to partner with
four of Ireland’s leading third level education providers
offering mental health & recovery promoting courses. 

Download Tony Leahy Bursary Poster
Download Kevin Plunkett Award Poster

Tony Leahy Bursary

Kevin Plunkett Award

Mental Health Ireland’s vision is for an Ireland where mental health is valued as being an essential part of personal wellbeing and the health of the nation. We will lead the way in informing Irish society’s understanding of mental health and fostering a culture where people with mental health difficulties are respected and supported.

Tony Leahy Bursary

Mental Health Ireland are delighted to partner with University College Cork, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland, Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology to offer four third level certificate courses which support the promotion of positive mental health, recovery and peer support working.

Through the Mental Health Ireland Tony Leahy Bursary we are delighted to support a number of students of these courses. The bursary was named in honour of our colleague and friend Tony Leahy, who sadly passed away in November 2018. Tony was one of the first to invite people with lived experience and their family members / supporters to sit at the national table with those who provided the services. He understood that change could not happen until we were inclusive of all voices, and made it part of how we plan our services. His work culminated in the co-producing of the National Framework for Recovery in Mental Health 2018 – 2020: which is his ultimate legacy to ensure a consistent, evidenced-based approach to embedding recovery oriented practice in services.

Mental Health Ireland will prioritise applications received from the following groups listed below in order of descending priority, where Group 1 receives highest priority. Applicants who are a member of more than one eligible group will receive an additional weighting. In any year, should the number of equally eligible applicants exceed the number of bursaries available, a lottery system will then apply.

  1. Peers / persons having self-experience of mental health difficulties
  2. Family members / carers / supporters of people who use the mental health services.
  3. Individuals engaged in community activism/volunteering/working in the area of mental health.

The amount of the bursary awarded is up to 50% of course fees. Bursaries of up to 100% of course fees are available to members of the Traveller community and those who identify as an international protection applicant, or a person granted international protection i.e. an asylum seeker, refugee, or person who has been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR).

Applications for the bursary and information on each course can be found at the links below.

The closing date for receipt of Tony Leahy Bursary Applications is Friday 27th August 2021.

Kevin Plunkett Award

Mental Health Ireland has launched the Kevin Plunkett Award to recognise the contribution of mental health nurses who have distinguished themselves in their role and to contribute to improving care and services for people using services and their families.

The Kevin Plunkett award is named after the former Area Director of Nursing for Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Service who passed away in May of this year.

Kevin was a dedicated mental health nurse and mental health volunteer who showed great courage and leadership throughout his career.

The Award will recognise and celebrate Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN) who have shown innovation in areas which may include; Mental Health Promotion, Co-Production, Facilitating Recovery, Service Quality, Innovation and Improvement Public Understanding or Community Engagement.

Nominations will be accepted for nurses working in the public and private sector, hospital or community settings, NGOs, research, service improvement and the academic centres.

Mental Health Ireland’s CEO Martin Rogan says, “We wish to recognise mental health nurses who bring new thinking or fresh insights aligned to the recommendations of the new national mental health policy ‘Sharing the Vision’ and Mental Health Ireland’s own strategy. We also wish to acknowledge best practice, innovation, sustainable and impactful change being brought about by RPNs at all levels.”

Awards may be utilised to advance; Further Education / Training / Research / facilitate Educational Travel / Study / Conference attendance / Innovate / Pilot projects (small scale). Partnerships and evidence of co-production with people who use mental health services, family members will be distinct advantage.

Mental Health Ireland does not accept funding from or work in partnership with the Pharmaceutical, Alcohol or Gambling industries, the awards will reflect this position. In keeping with MHI’s co-production principles, a Working Group has been convened which includes a Mental Health Ireland Board Member, an Area Director of Nursing nominee, a member of Kevin Plunkett’s family and a Person with Lived Experience. Nomination and application is made via mental Health Ireland’s website.

The nomination processes will allow for self-nomination, nomination by peers, service users, supervisors and colleagues. The nominee must agree to have their name go forward.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday, December 15th 2021.