Mental health for journalists - staying sane on challenging assignments

May 22, 2022
11.15 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. CEST
Mechelen, Belgium
Investigative journalists work under great stress. Deadlines, intimidation, and precarious employment all add to the pressures. And sometimes it is the impact from the content itself - traumatic imagery or distressing testimony, for example - which poses the greatest risks to journalist's health and their ability to get the work done.
And so how do we take care of ourselves and the team in order to avoid overload, burnout, and other potentially negative impacts of trauma exposure? In cooperation with the Dart Center, we share some tips and experiences.
Tatev Hovhannisyan:

Based in Armenia, Tatev is openDemocracy’s Europe and Eurasia editor on the Tracking the Backlash project. She is an investigative journalist with a particular interest in tracking attacks on universal human rights and investigating the funding of anti-gender movements in Europe.  She oversees the production of ambitious, cross-border investigative journalism and powerful storytelling that challenges power and inspires change. 

Her writing has appeared in many international media outlets, including the BBC, Euronews, The Guardian, Mother Jones and Voice of America. Before joining openDemocracy, she worked for ten years, mainly as an editor, at leading Armenian media outlets. Tatev is also a mental health advocate and is initiating conversations about improving well-being in newsrooms.

Gavin Rees: 
Gavin Rees is Senior Advisor for Training and Innovation at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Since 2008 he has been working as a trauma awareness consultant and trainer for newsrooms, media-support organisations, and journalism schools across Europe as well as internationally. Recently his work has focused on developing new approaches to working safely with traumatic images, dealing with online harassment and working ethically and effectively with victims and survivors of profound human rights abuses, such as forced labour, torture and sexual violence.

Previously, Gavin produced business and political news for US, British and Japanese news channels, and has worked on drama and documentary films for the BBC, Channel 4 and independent film companies. Gavin is a board member of the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies and the UK Psychological Trauma Society.
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