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Although journalism can be a rewarding career choice, those who cover tragedies often struggle to cope with the impact of human suffering on their mental health. In a large survey by the International Centre For Journalists (ICFJ), nearly three in four journalists said that the psychological and emotional impact of dealing with the covid-19 crisis was the most difficult aspect of their work. One in five respondents also said that their experience of online abuse, harassment, threats or attacks was "much worse than usual."

Last month, Headlines Network held sixteen free online workshops for more than 100 journalists to equip them with tips and tools to improve their and their colleagues’ mental wellbeing.

Headlines Network is a community that aims to promote mental health conversations in the UK media and tackle the taboos. The workshops focused on topics like setting boundaries, the importance of language, resilience and creating positive connections.

From newsroom editors to on-the-ground freelance reporters, participants could have an open conversation with other journalists about the topics that are often spoken about in hushed tones or completely ignored.

For journalists, it is almost impossible to turn off their smartphone, ignore the calls or spend a day without checking their emails. As one of the participants, a BBC Mundo journalist Laura Garcia, said, even just turning off her phone for one and half hours during the session was a challenge.

"[We] are quite privileged to be able to share our experiences in a way that it can be scary to do," said the co-director of Headlines Network, Hannah Storm. "When you have mental issues that you are dealing with there is a lot of shame attached.

"We both did the mental health first-aid course and it is important to say that we are not clinicians. We are not giving therapy. We just advised people to take time to listen. Because what people need is to talk."

John Crowley, the co-director of Headlines Network, added: "The best thing you can do as a journalist is to listen. The industry is not good at listening to each other, listening to different voices. What we were proud of [regarding] the initiative was that it was really diverse."

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