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Journalists and PTSD: File Your Story and Move On

Toy soldiers 

Before the identity of the shooter at Fort Hood was revealed, press reports were already talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the stresses of an army fighting two wars.

What about the journalists who cover those wars? Over at In These Times, Kari Lyderson reports on a conference organized by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies:

CNN and former Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Moni Basu described the effects of a career including seven stints in Iraq and covering executions by electric chair in Florida.

“You’re watching a man take 18 minutes to die...and then you’re supposed to just go file your story and move on,” she said.

...CNN cameraman Mark Biello was suffering nightmares and other signs of PTSD, that boiled over in a road rage incident where he accosted a cab driver.

“Every time you see things your cup gets fuller, and there’s only so long before it overflows,” he said.

...Reporters say it is harder than ever to persuade employers to make resources or even time available to address job-related mental health. But the need is greater than ever, as staff-cutting and belt-tightening often means heavier workloads that only add to stress. The issue is even harder to address for freelancers, who often don’t have health insurance or one steady employer.

Source: In These Times 

Image by Kyle May, licensed under Creative Commons .