Professional mental health support can play an important role in helping mitigate the consequences of online abuse and harassment of journalists. As a best practice, media outlets should ensure that journalists have access to mental health care either through the organization’s health plan or through ad hoc arrangements made between the media outlet and mental health professionals.
Although online abuse and any resulting psychological impact should be not accepted as “characteristics” of modern journalism, it is essential that media outlets destigmatize mental health counseling in the context of attacks. The fact is that online abuse exists and psychological support can be a needed response to it.
Mental health support for journalists should include at least the following elements:
• Learning how to cope with the stress response
• Coping with intrusive memories or invasive thoughts
• Trauma management
• Learning to “depersonalize” attacks