Online violence can have real consequences for journalists. Women media workers report that online harassment has a detrimental affect on their health and also prevents them from doing their job effectively. Accessing support and assistance can be an important step to helping journalists who are targeted online.
Assess Your Emotional Well-Being
If you are not sure whether you need psychological support, or you do not feel ready to speak to someone yet you might want to do a wellbeing assessment. The following resources might be useful for you. This interactive self-care guide will guide you through steps that may make you feel better. The organization Without My Consent has practical steps for emotional support for a US audience.
If you do need support dealing with online harassment the following guidance may help.
If you are being targeted online because of your work and feel you could benefit from trauma support, then consider reaching out to the organizations detailed below in the get support section. There are also a number of well-written resources that can guide you with next steps when it comes to caring for your wellbeing after being targeted online. These can be found below in our additional resources section.
Speaking with your newsroom or with colleagues
You may want to speak to your editor or newsroom manager about the abuse you are facing and see whether they have a policy in place to support staff who are facing online harassment. If you are a freelance journalist or work in a newsroom without support then reaching out to colleagues or journalists networks can be a helpful way of finding support or resources. See our guide to speaking with others for more information.
Creating support groups
Building your own formal or informal support network of colleagues can be a helpful way of managing the stress of being abused online. Having a network will allow you to reach out to others for emotional and practical support. This can include setting up group chats where you can swap strategies and tips for dealing with abuse.
If you are able you may wish to step away from the internet until the harassment has died down. Reach out to a colleague or friend to monitor your social media accounts if you no longer feel able to deal with them.
The following organisations are able to help journalists with psychosocial support, including covering the costs of a therapist.
Games and Online Harassment Hotline
A text-message based, confidential, emotional support hotline available only in the USA. This service is open to all journalists who have experienced online abuse. Currently open every day of the week.
A helpline offering psychosocial support for those suffering from online abuse. Available in English and Spanish (español).
The International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is a non-profit working internationally to support women journalists. The organisation offers trauma support for women journalists both in the US and internationally. They have the following support:
The IWMF emergency fund covers the cost of psychological care for women journalists around the world who have been targeted because of their work.
The United States Journalism Emergency Fund
The United States Journalism Emergency Fund for US journalists targeted as a direct result of their work.
The Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund
The Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund provides assistance for Black journalists facing financial hardship who are unable to pay for the mental health support they need.
The Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-governmental organisation. It can help journalists with the cost of covering trauma support. Apply directly via the emergency email address or via the CPJ representative in your region.
The Rory Peck Trust
The Rory Peck Trust is an international NGO that supports freelance journalists and their families worldwide. The organisation has a fund that can cover trauma support resulting from your work as a journalist.
Share With Your Network
International Press Institute and the Dart Centre
Video tutorials with coping strategies for dealing with online abuse and guidance for creating a self-care plan.
An informative guide with links to organizations that can provide mental health support in the United States.
An accessible step-by-step guide to help journalists manage wellbeing issues as a direct result of online violence.
Guidance from the Dart Center on dealing with online harassment, including how to respond to trolls.
New York Times
An article on self-care for Black journalists written by Black journalists and editors.
International Center For Journalists
Tips on how journalists can address their own mental health
Asian American Journalists’ Association
A collection of mental wellness resources for AAPI journalists.
Without My Consent
Advice on what to do if you are facing online violence for a US audience.