Mind Site News website screenshot
MindSiteNews.org is one of the nation’s only news organization exclusively covering mental health.
Launched in September 2021, it’s an outgrowth of a smaller, state-focused website at California’s Steinberg Institute that veteran health and mental health journalist and AHCJ award-winner Rob Waters was running at the time.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska via pexels.
As we enter year three of the pandemic, many journalists continue to search for strategies to help them cope with mental health fallout from both experiencing and covering COVID-19.
Several recent surveys show journalists during the pandemic have experienced high rates of symptoms associated with post traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD) like anxiety, depression, flashbacks, negative changes in thinking or mood and increased reactivity to emotionally charged events.
When reporter Sandy West took on an assignment to cover a Texas program that offers comprehensive mental and physical health services to survivors of sex trafficking who identify as men, she quickly delved into a topic she didn’t know much about. In a recent interview, West, an independent reporter based in Houston, talked about how she prepared for the story and things reporters should keep in mind when talking to people who share memories of difficult experiences. Her story was published in September in The Imprint.
This discussion has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Kathryn Bocanegra, assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, listening to panelist Arturo Carrillo, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., director of health and violence prevention at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. (Photo by Erica Tricarico)
Law enforcement officials frequently mischaracterize perpetrators and victims of gun violence, resulting in news headlines and soundbites that sometimes obscure the toll it takes on very young people.
That was the broad message from experts on the “What exposure to chronic violence — especially among children — does to human health” panel at Reporting on Violence as a Public Health Issue: An AHCJ Summit in Chicago.
Several years ago, I recall talking to a New York friend about how awestruck I was that my hometown library had put out a welcome mat, if you will, to homeless people.
‘As long as you’re not a disruption, the librarians are cool with you being there. That would never happen in New York.’ I’d said that of the Central Arkansas Public Library’s main branch, one of my favorite haunts (especially now that I spend more time in my southern home than my northern one).