Canadian journalists facing ‘alarming’ levels of mental health struggles: report

Click to play video: 'A quarter of Canadian journalists have formal diagnosis of anxiety, half find more difficulty managing stress: report' A quarter of Canadian journalists have formal diagnosis of anxiety, half find more difficulty managing stress: report
WATCH: The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma and Ottawa’s Carleton University released a new report on Wednesday that found more than half of journalists in the country, about 57 per cent, were reporting difficulty in managing stress that is “worse than ever.” – May 25, 2022

A new report finds that members of Canada’s news industry are suffering “alarming” levels of work-related stress and trauma.

The survey suggests that media workers suffer high rates of mental health symptoms, with 69 per cent of respondents reporting anxiety and 46 per cent saying they struggle with depression.

The number of media workers with formal diagnoses for anxiety and depression were 28 per cent and 21 per cent, far above the number of Canadians in the general public where rates stand at 2.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

That puts the rate of diagnosed anxiety among Canadian journalists responding to the survey at 10 times that of the general population, and the rate of diagnosed depression nearly five times higher.

Read more: Suicidal thoughts among Canadians significantly higher during COVID-19: StatCan

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More than half of respondents said they had received online harassment and threats, and 35 per cent said they had faced harassment in the field.

The survey also indicates that exposure to trauma is taking a toll on media workers, with 80 per cent of participants saying they’ve experienced burnout as a result of reporting on stories about death, injury and suffering.

Read more: Harassment, threats to journalists during protests are dangerous, say experts

One in 10 respondents also reported suicidal thoughts in relation to stories covered on the job.

The findings from the online survey of journalists and media workers were presented on Parliament Hill today. The survey was also distributed to Canadian Press employees.

The 1,251 voluntary responses were collected between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, 2021.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error.

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