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Results of the SPJ State of Journalism and Mental Health in Washington State Survey

Board members of the SPJ Western Washington Pro Chapter were concerned. The year 2020 was a tumultuous time for journalists not only in our state, but across the country — as both the coronavirus pandemic and demonstrations took hold in our communities.

Our goal was to gain insight into the mental health of journalists in our state and pinpoint areas in which we could provide assistance. What we learned was concerning: A majority of the journalists who took our survey said mental wellness was more of a struggle now than before the pandemic, that they never use mental health services, and that a myriad of barriers contributes to this.

The survey was open to any Washington state journalist, from March 17 to April 11, 2021. We promoted the survey through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter), and reached out to journalists in our state both directly and through their news organizations. This report includes data from 148 reporters, photographers, editors, web producers, newsroom executives, and others.

Some results from the survey gave us a clear indication that journalists in Washington state have been experiencing a heightened level of work-related stress in the past year, and that has caused higher incidences of anxiety and depression throughout many of the roles in our industry.

See the full results of SPJ Western Washington’s mental health survey here.

The results of the survey were discussed during a Zoom panel discussion ‘Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues in Journalism‘ that took place on April 15, 2021. Our guests included moderator Enrique Cerna, Dr. Rebecca Hendrickson, Wudan Yan, Marcus Harrison Green, Casey Martin, and Katie Gillespie.

Audio from the discussion can also be downloaded here.

We hope this survey and panel discussion sheds light on the importance of self-care, getting help when needed, and the obstacles that prevent that from happening.

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