Bell Let’s Talk – Focus – Mental Health of Journalists

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Mental health matters motivational quote on the letter board. Inspiration psycological text with paper cut leaves. Flat lay, top view

About once a month I hope to take a step away from journalism, and let my readers into my life as a journalist.

I hope to take some big issue of the day and shine a light on it, from the way we see it through our lens and in the end, from our platform.

This will be a step away from the factual reporting I do daily and into the world of opinion.

I have written poems in the past for this site, they showed what I thought were important parts of this cities history and the news highlights from last year. This time, this piece is a little more serious.

As we get into February and 11 months into a pandemic that sometimes feels like it will never end, I want to share a little insight into mental health as a journalist.

When I was in school learning to do this job, we were warned it is stressful and thankless many times. Whether its covering a fatal accident, overdoses and fires, or repeating COVID or Coronavirus umpteen times a day it takes a toll.

Sherry Ricchiardi, Ph.D., is the co-author of International Centre for Journalists Disaster and Crisis Coverage. She has worked with numerous journalists teaching trauma, safety and conflict reporting.

In a report on mental health for journalists done on the international journalist network she make a point many citizens don’t see.

“We are first responders,” Ricchiardi said. “When there’s trouble, others may run away from a scene but journalists rush towards it. In order to stay resilient and effective, it’s important to remember that stress can be accumulated over periods of time.”

On an almost daily basis myself and my colleagues deal with unimaginable situations where we talk with victims. We both love to bring you their stories, while also take their stories to heart.

If you add to it the constant shouts of #fakenews, or even worse many of my female counterparts still dealing with *@#$ her in the P#[email protected]# and it takes a toll.

In a preliminary report published by the Reuters Institute back in June of 2020, 70% of the international journalists they surveyed showed some level of psychological distress. 26% had significant anxiety comparable to any of the generalized anxiety disorders.

11% show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, just within the first few months of reporting on the pandemic.

In my opinion this is a topic we as journalists don’t like to talk about. We are supposed to be supplying news and not get involved in our stories, like we are robots.

Bell Let’s Talk day gives us the opportunity to share with you our readers just a little glimpse into our world, I hope it may have changed your perspective a bit on what we do.

So next time you see us on the side of the road, at a fire, dealing with hard issues in your community don’t be afraid to say hi.

I think I can speak for many of my colleagues when I say we don’t bite and we do appreciate it, probably more than we will let on.

2 COMMENTS

  1. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing people via opinion columns or reporting events that lead to criticism, provided you’re consistent and fair.

    Part of good mental health is dealing with adversity, because it will never go away.

  2. While I can appreciate that the media have a tough job, so do the people in the public eye who the media regularly insinuate are horrible, irresponsible, and thoughtless. A known way to boost mental health is to be nice to others. That means realizing that we’re all human and maybe not constantly trying to criticize everyone you report on.

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