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‘Prioritise your mental health, take breaks,’ Psychologist charges journalists

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Media professionals have been urged to deliberately take precautions for their mental health while carrying out their duties.


Chineze Okafor, a psychologist gave mental health care tips to journalists during a 3-day workshop on sensitive reporting of trauma, gender-based violence and suicide-related experiences in Lagos.


The workshop which trained over 40 journalists across the south west region of Nigeria was organised by the Child Solidarity Group and Idimma Health Initiative, supported by the United States Consulate.


Okafor enjoined the participants to prioritise their mental health as well as that of their sources and the public for society to be sanitised of social vices.


“While reporting sensitive issues like rape, violence, suicide, and child abuse; carefully conduct interviews of the survivors and avoid triggers, especially in the use of language. Conceal their identity and provide follow-up support on the case.


“As journalists, despite your busy schedules, take breaks intentionally and seek professional mental health therapy when necessary. Delegate responsibilities and engage in recreational activities to maintain a balanced work life,” the mental health expert advised.


In her presentation, Founder of Idimma Health Initiative, Aisha Bubah noted that mental health issues like anxiety, loneliness, depression, psychosis, suicide and other mental disorders do not occur only among the poor.


Bubah, who is also a psychologist harped on more funding for the mental health care system and continuous mental checks with experts before severe mental illnesses set in.


The CEO of Child Solidarity Group, Emediong Akpabio urged the trained journalists to transfer the accrued knowledge of the workshop to their colleagues at their various media organisations.


This, according to him will increase safe reporting and spread sensitive interview tips for a better society to engage with journalists as transformation agents.


The Spokesperson for the US Mission in Nigeria, Gilbert Morton who was present at the end of the workshop to issue certificates to the trained journalists expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the programme.


He commended the facilitators and urged the journalists to report trauma, gender-based violence and suicide stories with sensitivity as trained.


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