“Alarming levels of stress” harming mental health of Canadian journalists: study

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“Alarming levels of stress” harming mental health of Canadian journalists: study's Profile


A new study shows “alarming levels of stress” are harming the mental health of Canadian journalists and media workers.

It says workers face high rates of trauma exposure because of constantly covering stories about death, injury and suffering.

The survey was done between November and December of 2021 and revealed some startling health impacts resulting from events of the last four years.

Respondent mental health symptoms at rates far above Canadian average were found.

69 per cent of respondents report anxiety, 46 per cent report depression and 15 per cent report PTSD.

Two-thirds say they were negatively affected by graphic and disturbing stories, with 80 per cent suffering burnout as a result of trauma coverage. One in ten have thought about suicide tied to coverage.

Of the more than 1,250 survey responses, 56 per cent of journalists also reported being harassed and getting threats online, while 35 per cent experienced harassment in the field.

One of the lead researchers, Dave Seglins, said journalists and media workers expressed high rates of job satisfaction, which shows many love their jobs, but their jobs don’t always love them.

“This is a wake-up call,” Seglins said. “There is an alarming amount of stress in virtually all corners of the industry and something must be done. This is not just a ‘management issue.’ Everyone in the industry – from the frontlines, to assignment, to newsroom managers, to corporate executives, to unions and associations – all have a role to play in changing the culture.”

The other lead researcher of “The Taking Care Survey,” Matthew Pearson said these results need to be recognized.

“By recognizing media workers’ elevated risks of trauma, acknowledging their personal sacrifices and honouring their commitment, we can together create a healthier, more sustainable news industry – one that better supports its people in pursuit of journalism’s greater mission of serving the public good.”

 

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