On Your Mind Cymru
by Jacob Dafydd Ellis
This project began in 2016 when I received a travel bursary, thanks to the generosity of The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales. I spent 2 weeks traveling the US East Coast meeting journalists and photo journalists and discussing their mental health. This continues to be a subject close to my heart, as several of my colleagues and friends have experienced severe mental health issues.
I mainly visited New York and Washington DC and spoke to 6 contributors about the subject. Some were current journalists and others had moved away from the profession.
It became clear during my interviews that although their stories were unique, they shared many commonalities. Most spoke of the harsh realities of working environments, of deadlines and financial cuts. A terrorist attack, a road traffic collision or an interview with a grieving mother – each a scenerio that impacts on a journalists mental health. In addition, one journalist spoke of the stresses outside their career – and how a combination of debt, family conflict and alcoholism can impact on their working environments.
On Your Mind Cymru will attempt to gather as many voices and experiences as possible – allowing those who wish to tell their stories, the opportunity to do so. In turn, the project will become a collection of interviews that form part of the solution in tackling stigma and improving mental health services within and around the journalism industry. There are many examples of good practice within news organisations and this project is not an attempt at replacing the good work already happening.
Journalists often interview contirbutors on topics related to the mental health but do not get the opportunity to discuss their own experiences.
Jacob is a BBC Wales Broadcast Journalist and works on Newyddion 9 (A Welsh medium TV news programme).
He can be followed on Twitter and contacted via the contact form.