Stress and anxiety have long been prevalent among news professionals. A Columbia Journalism Review article in 1999 noted that nearly 40% of editors in the U.S. “reported job-related health problems ranging from insomnia to alcoholism and hypertension.” There was no social media at the time, and few newsrooms were even online back then. Still, media professionals worked long hours and covered difficult topics, among other occupational stressors.
In 2015, the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma found that between four and 59% of journalists have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depending on their beats or locations. The COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and a range of economic crises globally in the years since have exacerbated the situation.
What can journalists do to care for their mental health today — including assessing whether they need to take a break? Here is some advice from career coaches who work with news professionals around the world.