Since the beginning of the pandemic, the fast-paced news cycle has taken a serious toll on journalists’ mental health. We are under extreme levels of stress, being front-line responders to an urgent situation that has also affected us directly.
A number of initiatives popped up to help media professionals take care of their mental wellbeing. One of them is The Self-Investigation Academy, a platform co-created by Mar Cabra, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for her work on the Panama Papers.
The team has so far trained more than 750 reporters and editors around the world, in English and Spanish, using evidence-based practices coming from the fields of neuroscience, psychology and mindfulness. These techniques help journalists manage their workload without sacrificing their mental health.
"The Self-Investigation Academy is the natural response to these past two years of training. Course after course, iteration after iteration, we now have a method that we know works," says Cabra.
A new self-paced course "How to be a healthy journalist in an always-on culture" allows participants from all over the world to access the training. The ultimate goal is to create a less toxic working culture in the media.
Journalism.co.uk readers can win a place on the course worth £100 (€118). Fill out this quick form (or scan the QR code) for a chance to enter the prize draw. The competition closes on Sunday 20 March at 11 pm GMT and the winner will be notified via email on Monday 21 March.
During the course, participants spend 15-20 minutes a day learning more about how to manage stress better, deal with the digital world in a healthier way, be more effective at work and understand their emotions, among other topics. To help transform these practices into a healthy approach to work, the course is designed to be taken over four weeks, the minimum time it takes to get unstuck from unhealthy habits.
Continuous support is available from the team and the community, as well as through live sessions with the trainers while taking the course at your own pace. Another feature is the option to take part in 20-day challenges since it is often easier to stay committed when taking the course with others for a limited period of time.
The first challenge starts today, 14 March, and you can still sign up - it is never too late to join. There is also a course coming out in Spanish before the summer.
"At The Self-Investigation we have a mantra: you are as important as your work. We, journalists, tend to fail to remember that we're not just professionals, we're human beings. I know from experience: I burnt out because I took my job more seriously than my physical and mental health,” says Cabra.
"Journalism can't keep losing talent, we can't afford it in the complex times we live in. We recently did a free webinar and we came up with 10 tips to help journalists make well-being their priority in 2022."
Free daily newsletter
- How AI can help journalists track MPs financial interests
- Managing emotions in journalism, with Maja Šimunjak
- Tools for journalists: Missing Perspectives Directory, for connecting newsrooms with women
- How do we improve how women are treated inside and outside the newsroom?
- Growing the next generation of journalists, with Karen Fowler-Watt