Resources for Self-Care & Peer Support
What has become known as the "Black Saturday Bushfires" is Australia’s worse natural disaster to date. On Feb. 7, 2009, temperatures of 46 degrees Celsius and winds of 100 km per hour created explosive firestorms with 1500 times the energy of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
At first blush, the cultures of journalism and the military seem as opposite as transparency and secrecy. But in one respect, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the British Navy are identical: They each have a robust peer support program designed to deal with the emotional stress of working in a realm of violence and death.
"It just doesn't go out of the brain." Onscreen, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation editor described watching footage of a beheading in Iraq. At a brown bag lunch at the Columbia Journalism School on Oct. 30, students watched a DVD chronicling journalists' experiences covering traumatic stories, from accidents to terrorism, and then discussed how to manage such occupational stress with two of Australia's leading experts on the subject.
Last month in Bonn, Germany, news media, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, politicians, artists, entrepreneurs and scientists from all over the world came together to discuss conflict in a multimedia age. The Dart Center organized panels on "The Trauma Factor: The Missing Ingredient in Conflict Journalism" and "Surviving Kidnap": You now can download or listen online to the audio.
If there is one constant in the political history of Gaza over the 61 years since the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, it is that whenever it is thought that the situation can’t get any worse, it usually does. The Israeli-Hamas war that ended three months ago left many hundreds dead, thousands of others robbed of their livlihoods and the political divisions within Palestinian society just as deeply fissured as before.
Caught between military occupation and separatist terrorism, a society that doesn't talk about mental health is desperate for psychiatrists, faith healers, medication — anything that could help heal "one of the most traumatized places on earth." A multimedia exclusive.
When a situation is extremely difficult, often one keeps filming. It’s not possible to take on board entirely what’s going on. When it comes back to you — when it really sinks in — is when you have quiet time afterwards. Then you can reflect on what’s happened. That may be a ten-minute break in a firefight, or it may be on the long walk home.