Journalism students experience intense amount of issues in the newsrooms, and it has caused these students to experience a mental health decline. Although the newsroom and the journalism industry both require major improvements to have a healthy and safe workplace, there are certain individuals who are working to establish welcoming situations to allow reporters to feel comfortable discussing and addressing major mental health challenges that happen in the field.
While working in the Journalism field, it is important to build newsrooms with a complete understanding of the front-line issues we are facing. Trauma has been fully immersed into our culture in many ways; for example, racism, natural disasters, and the most recent issue COVID-19 are examples of stories that students have been covering recently. Many student journalists struggle to find good, official sources that actually support their story. The CDC is a great official source for all issues concerning the pandemic and how we can maintain safety measures against this virus as the number of COVID-19 cases begin to slowly decline. According to the CDC, the pandemic has rapidly increased the concern for mental health distress beginning prior to the spread of the virus.
Reporters are known for reporting trauma driven topics in newscast or print. Debriefing after a difficult to discuss story can be helpful in lowering stress or anxiety. Journalism can be seen as a way of dealing with inner problems the journalist themselves have already known about. Rainer Harris, who is a senior at Regis High School in New York City writes freelance journalism entries covering a range of issues. The most personal topic that he chooses to write about is about his life as a black teenager. “A lot of things are happening in the world. With journalism, I feel like I have a chance to participate and find out things for myself, but also bring those issues to life for other people,” Harris said according to the website, “The Lead.”
Proper time off can be very helpful for a student journalist, and a collaborative newsroom culture makes rest possible. Reporters are working on their own story, but they are also working together with the other reporters to cover various story topics for each other. Adaptive strategies are a great way to support the idea of collaboration amongst student journalist who are dealing with trauma-stricken issues in the world.
It is important for you and your colleagues to keep your health on the top of your priority list. Each individual is aware of what truly eases your mind to allow relaxation. For example, taking a walk, sitting outdoors, riding a bike, hiking, reading, and/ or painting are all great ways for students to destress.
Seeking professional help can help the student to find additional and more beneficial ways of relieving distress by providing counseling sessions, support groups and medicine. There are various mental health resources like hotlines and self-educational articles to provide a healthy outlet for student journalist to maintain their most valuable wellness resource, themselves.