IWMF Introduces Mental Health Resource for Journalists
Accessible Guide Supports Journalists Experiencing Online Abuse
[December 5, 2022 – WASHINGTON, DC] – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today debuted a straightforward and practical mental health guide (‘A Mental Health Guide for Journalists Facing Online Violence’) to offer journalists support as they face an unprecedented surge of violence online. This resource – used in conjunction with the IWMF’s ‘A Guide to Protecting Newsrooms and Journalists Against Online Violence’ – continues the IWMF’s work to address the epidemic of online violence against journalists and calls for a culture of change throughout the industry.
The IWMF’s downloadable guide was created by mental health professionals specialized in trauma support for news media workers. The new resource – developed to be adopted quickly and easily – pays particular attention to the requests of journalists in the field, who need immediate access to mental health support to combat the effects of online violence. The launch of this guide is a part of a broader initiative called the IWMF News Safety Project, which empowers leaders in journalism to help combat online violence.
“The impact of online violence on journalists’ health and wellbeing cannot be overstated. Digital abuse leads to dire consequences, including an inability to work, a loss of livelihood and a disintegration of press freedom,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. “Women and diverse journalists are disproportionately targeted because of their identities. We hope our growing resources put abusers on notice and encourage news media at-large to address the culture of silence surrounding this issue.”
Available to download now, ‘A Mental Health Guide for Journalists Facing Online Violence’ was funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and developed by the IWMF. The mental health resource contains practical, easy-to-adopt assessments and exercises to help journalists dealing with trauma from online abuse. The guide also details the psychology behind online violence so journalists can better protect themselves online, especially if their work is freelance or requires a consistent digital presence.
In 2020, the IWMF convened the Coalition Against Online Violence, a collection of global organizations working to find better solutions for women journalists facing digital abuse. Representing nearly 70 organizations worldwide, the CAOV oversees the Online Violence Resource Hub, where journalists can seek support, tools and guidance for a range of challenges affecting their work and life online. In 2021, the CAOV launched a first-of-its-kind Public Service Announcement campaign to bring global attention to the rise of targeted, damaging attacks against journalists online – particularly against women and diverse journalists.
For more information about IWMF’s work in online safety, you can visit the IWMF website.
About the International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are an ambitious, bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.