Sandy Rovner, a staff writer for the Health section of The Washington Post, won the prestigious Morse Award of the American Psychiatric Association, it was announced yesterday. The award is granted for continuing coverage of mental health.

Rovner was honored for her cover stories on domestic violence, depression and psychoanalysis and for several Healthtalk columns, including one on women who kill their abusers. Rovner will receive $500 and a plaque, which will be presented at the association's annual conference association in May in Montreal.

In addition, Athelia Knight, a member of the Post's metropolitan staff, received a second prize in the National Education Reporting Awards competition sponsored by the Education Writers Association.

Knight won second prize in the competition for series appearing in newspapers of more than 75,000 circulation for her four-part series about McKinley High School, titled "Pursuing the Legacy."

First prize in the category went to Emily Sachar of New York Newsday for a series on problems with New York City public schools.

Richard Morin, now polling director of The Washington Post, was one of four staff members of The Miami Herald who won first prize in the education writers' contest for investigative reporting in newspapers of more than 75,000 circulation.

Their work was titled "Separate But Equal? Segregation in Dade's Public Schools." Dade refers to Dade County, Fla.

In the same contest, which had 15 categories, Diane Granat won first prize in the regional magazine category for "A Child is a Terrible Thing to Waste" in The Washingtonian magazine.

Ten Post staff writers shared three first-place awards in the 1987 editorial contest held by the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association.

Laura Sessions Stepp won the award for religion coverage for "Parents Turning to Sunday School."

Saundra Saperstein Torry and Elsa Walsh won the general news award for "A Journey From Glory to Grave," about a member of a prominent Vietnamese family accused of killing his parents.

John Harris, Caryle Murphy, Don Phillips, Susan Schmidt, Douglas Stevenson, Paul W. Valentine and Martin Weil were named in the spot news category for coverage of the Amtrak-Conrail train collision in Chase, Md.

The Washington Times received five first-place and eight second-place awards in the contest, which involved 20 journalism categories that included writing, photography and layout.

The Times' first-place winners were Ross D. Franklin, sports picture; Laura Outerbridge, medical/science story; William Castronuovo, page design (not page 1); Larry Proulx, headlines, and Ed Haddock, graphics.