Self-Care for Journalists
Anybody who has regular contact with severely traumatized people is at risk for becoming emotionally injured him or herself.
If you have witnessed a traumatic scene or listened to a trauma survivor's story, find a way to relax within a day or two. If you have a favorite stress-reduction technique (exercise, yoga, art, etc), do it.
Speaking about what you have witnessed with other reporters who have had similar experiences can help you to "metabolize" your emotional stress.
Many journalists find that focusing on the public good that may result from their reporting can help them get through an emotionally draining assignment.
It's common to experience emotional distress in the weeks after witnessing a traumatic event. If the distress doesn't subside over time, consider seeking professional help.
To find out more about the potential mental health impact in covering traumatic events for you as a journalist or to improve your own coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy, go to The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, at www.dartcenter.org. The Dart Center is a global network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals dedicated to improving media coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy.