Winter 2021

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Page 37 of 121

I t is no secret that news reporting can require broadcasters to enter dangerous or taxing situations, which has made the topic of broadcasters' mental health more important than ever. "This is an exceptional period of stress from COVID and also a period of trauma in the news cycle, in which some of the most fundamental inequities of our society are affecting us in a very personal way," said Bruce Shapiro, senior executive director for the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. To help broadcasters better understand the short- and long-term effects of job-related stress and trauma, and to shed light on positive mental health practices, SAG-AFTRA hosted Trauma Awareness and Self-Care on Oct. 15. The webinar, featuring Shapiro, was moderated by Los Angeles-based KNX-AM host and Broadcast Steering Committee member Frank Mottek. It was sponsored by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Although broadcasters have a unique resiliency to the challenges in their occupation, Shapiro noted that current events are causing many to experience trauma more acutely. "You need to think about what has worked for you and supported you at other tough times in the past and proactively [utilize] it now," Shapiro suggested to participants. Shapiro and SAG-AFTRA broadcast members offered several ways to monitor and nurture your mental health and that of your colleagues: 1. Learn your triggers and develop your own self-care routine. 2. Take nano-breaks when you can: Step away from your desk, go for a walk or do some other short activity. 3. Check in with colleagues and offer support during turbulent times. 4. Limit time spent on the phone and your exposure to social media, graphic images and other negative aspects of the news cycle when off duty. 5. Develop ways to lessen your exposure to mental triggers and trauma. 6. Engage friends and family in a way that works with you. 7. Take time off as needed. 8. Explore mental health options provided by the employer and union-sponsored health plan, including support groups or counseling. Visit to watch this presentation. Trauma, Mental Health and Resiliency

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