KARACHI- The Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) recently launched a free mental health counselling service for journalists at the Karachi Press Club.
The Well-Being Center was launched with a panel discussion on ‘Learning to cope with the long-term effect of covering recurrent trauma as a journalist in Pakistan’.
The panelists included Clinical Psychologist Dr. Asha Bedar, Senior Psychiatrist Dr. Uzma Ambreen, Geo News Director input Mr, Zahid Hussain and Karachi Press Club President Mr. Ahmed Khan Malik. The counselling session was moderated by Mahim Maher, Editor Digital Properties Samaa TV.
Initiating the discussion, Dr. Asha shared some common mental health issues faced by journalists. Problems such as anxiety, depression, lack of self-esteem were said to be fairly common amongst journalists. She added that it is important to develop coping skills to deal with everyday issues.
Dr. Ambreen spoke about how journalists cope with stress by getting over-the-counter medicines, that are never good for health and only heals temporarily. She encouraged the journalists to go for counselling rather than medicating themselves. She asked them to engross in other relaxing activities like, spending time with friends and family or take up a hobby they enjoy.
Sharing the journalists’ perspectives, Mr. Hussain said that working in a newsroom is very stressful, but that is how journalists learn the job. “The editor will return your copy many times but this should not make you upset. Instead, you should take it in a positive manner,” he added. He also mentioned as to how news should be treated as news and should not be taken personally or else it will affect one’s mental stability.
Mr. Ahmed Khan appreciated CEJ’s efforts in conducting this session, highlighting such an important aspect that is overlooked. He added how most journalists don’t have a platform to discuss such issues and lack a social life, due to their long working hours.
The Well-Being Centre offered free mental health counselling for the struggling journalists with Dr. Bedar, and these sessions will have complete anonymity to respect their privacy.