Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, has been appointed a CBE in the New Year Honours List.
Ms Wallace has twice won Investigative Journalist of the Year
A former investigative journalist, Ms Wallace founded the charity in 1986 following a series of articles in the Times newspaper.
It provided the first national, out-of-hours mental health helpline.
She was named one of the people who shaped 21st century healthcare in a National Portrait Gallery show.
After leaving University College London with a psychology degree, Ms Wallace worked as a trainee producer for The Frost Programme with David Frost.
She then became a religious programmes producer and a current affairs reporter for London Weekend Television.
As an investigative journalist for the Sunday Times, she wrote a series of articles highlighting the financial and emotional plight of young thalidomide victims.
Ms Wallace received an overwhelming public response to her articles on mental illness - entitled The Forgotten Illness - in the Times.
Sane's patron, the Prince of Wales, said: "They not only laid the foundation of contemporary understanding of mental illness but also led directly to the foundation of Sane."
The charity aims to raise awareness for people with mental illness and researches its causes at the Prince of Wales International Centre for Sane Research.
It also provides practical support for people experiencing mental health problems through its telephone and e-mail help lines.
Born in 1944 in Nairobi, Kenya, Ms Wallace is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
She has been recognised as a leading opinion former and attended a Millennium lunch hosted by the Queen for 400 people who had helped to change things in the 20th century.
She has also been voted one of the Daily Mail's 100 most influential women in Britain.