The Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism as part of its Journalists’ Welfare project invites journalists across all-region in Nigeria to participate in a survey to determine the prevalence of work-related stress amongst journalists and its effect on the psychological welfare of journalists. The survey is commissioned to enable a data-driven approach to combat the challenges of the effect of the job on the psychological welfare of journalists.
The survey, meant to be taken by practising journalists from the age of 18 upwards was jointly prepared by consultants both from the field of psychiatry and data analysis and research, targets an understanding of the conditions that engender stress, the effects of identified stressors and coping mechanisms that respondents have deployed to minimize the effect of the stress on their mental health.
Increasingly, psychological health challenges as much as physical ones are contributory to the limitations that journalists face in carrying out their duties with data showing that psychological disorders like Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse and other mental illnesses are on the increase among journalists. Another survey reveals that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has a lifetime prevalence rate of 28.6%, alcohol use 14.3 %, and 21.4% for Major Depressive Disorder among journalists reporting violent conflicts.
These surveys, however, did not cover the African region and Nigeria specifically, and the prevalence of conflicts and violence in the country as well as the shifting boundaries of war from country borders to non-defined lines within the country has ensured that journalists are exposed to these in the process of news coverage thus making it all the more important that attention be paid to these journalists whose previous trainings might not have exposed them or prepared them to cope with the effects of covering violence and conflict. The conditions under which journalists practice in countries like Nigeria is an added stressor with the fight for Press Freedom a still-raging one with some victories but way too many casualties; and the effect of practising journalism under the threat of unlawful detention and arrests, harassment, torture and the like is said to have a debilitating effect on the psychological health of journalists.
It is these summations that have prompted a survey to determine the extent of the effect of work-related stress in the practice of journalism, as data gotten from the survey will guide the design of programs to advocate for and support the holistic welfare of journalists which essentially includes the psychological health of journalists.
It will be recalled that the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism in partnership with Olive Prime Treatment Services launched its free mental health assessment and care services for journalists, the free psychiatry services are also a component of the PTCIJ’s Journalists’ Welfare project.
The survey can be found here.0