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Caribbean journalists and communicators prepare for challenges of reporting on mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Caribbean journalists and communicators prepare for challenges of reporting on mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants of the PAHO/CDB/CBU coaching series bought tools to again them be particular informative, responsible, safe and evidence-primarily based coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a level of curiosity on mental health-linked issues. The coaching used to be adopted by an award to acknowledge tales that reflected the issues and key recommendations raised during the series

Bridgetown, Barbados, 30 July 2021 – The impression of COVID-19 on the mental health of Caribbean electorate used to be highlighted as a well-known predicament of concern as hundreds of regional journalists and communicators had been these days supplied with guidance on reporting responsibly on issues linked to the pandemic.

Early Newspaper

The concern used to be among several explored as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Construction Monetary institution (CDB), in collaboration with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), hosted a virtual coaching series on ethical reporting during the pandemic. One of the targets of the four-section series used to be to offer tools to again communicators provide informative, responsible, safe and evidence-primarily based coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic with a level of curiosity on mental health-linked issues, despite the proliferation of spurious information.

Explaining the importance of the coaching sessions, Jessie Schutt-Aine, Coordinator of the Caribbean Subregional Program at PAHO acknowledged: “COVID-19, because it is a contemporary virus and because it is highly contagious, the information and evidence round it has been evolving at a fast gallop. This has fuelled rumours and spurious information, which has spread faster than the outbreak itself. As professionals working in this home, we get now the responsibility of maintaining up with the evidence and ensuring that the public is well informed.”

Against that background, the first webinar in the series, ‘Key epidemiological and ethical concepts for reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic, together with mental health and psychosocial aspects and tricks for self-care’, held on June 18, 2020, offered an introduction to ethical aspects of journalistic coverage.  Journalists had been guided on the most titillating strategy to elaborate common epidemiological concepts, in addition to a top level view of mental health issues in the context of COVID-19.

“Our communities are fully reliant on you as communications professionals to offer responsible and evidence-primarily based coverage of the pandemic,” acknowledged Deidre Clarendon, Chief of the Social Sector Division of the CDB informed the contributors. 

In addition to helping the journalists and communicators understand the technical terminology feeble during outbreaks and epidemics and the most titillating strategy to make particular comely and swish reporting on aspects of a pandemic, the webinar included presentations from Caribbean journalists reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic on the ground. Media practitioners esteem Charmaine Clarke, the Managing Editor of the Jamaica Observer, and Emmanuel Joseph, President of the Barbados Association of Journalists and Media Workers, offered real examples of upright practices and the challenges confronted in reporting on the pandemic.

Participants of the second session held on July 9, 2020, tackled the role of journalists in addressing COVID-19 stigma and mental health and included recommendations on the most titillating strategy to handle these issues, an introduction to the information “Social Stigma linked to COVID-19,” in addition to a top level view of “Time to Replace,” a UK-primarily based marketing campaign that has efficiently addressed stigma about mental health. 

During the “Preserving Domestic Violence and the COVID-19 Pandemic” webinar on September 2, 2020, the role of journalists and communicators in reporting about home violence used to be examined. Participants bought tricks on the most titillating strategy to make use of information ethically and efficiently, steer sure of stigma and discrimination when reporting, be particular technical rigor, offer protection to those communicating and their sources, and prioritize self-care and mental health.

The closing session in the series used to be held on January 14, 2021. “Doing What Issues in Instances of Stress for Journalists and Health Communicators” centered on the impression of the work of journalists on their contain wellness, in particular during the pandemic. The session used to be primarily based on the WHO Information “Doing What Issues in Instances of Stress,” which is being adapted by PAHO and CDB for the Caribbean to attain it more consumer pleasant and context particular.

A fable on mental health in Cayman children receive PAHO/CDB/CBU award

Following the coaching series, contributors had been invited to enter the PAHO/CDB/CBU Awards “Celebrating Responsible Coverage of Mental Health and Psychosocial Toughen During COVID-19,” giving them the quite a lot of to demonstrate their means to veil the pandemic responsibly, the use of evidence-primarily based information to deem issues and key recommendations raised during the coaching.

The contest sought out television, radio and print entries covering issues explored in the webinars, with a US$500 cash prize and a Certificate of Recognition to be won by the most outstanding entry in each of the three classes. Several entries had been submitted, and the judges’ story notorious that many of them demonstrated implies that wants to be nurtured with additional coaching and/or mentoring.

On the other hand, Daphne Ewing-Chow, of online information web content Loop Cayman, used to be the sole entrant whose submission met the judges’ criteria. Her article, ‘Mental health professionals insist looming concerns for Cayman children’ used to be resolute to be the handiest in the print category by the judging panel, which comprised Denise Shepherd-Johnson, Retired Chief of Communications with UNICEF (chief deem); Britta Baer, PAHO; Lothar Mikulla, CDB, and Enrico Woolford, Director at Capitol News, Guyana.

Ms. Ewing-Chow’s story featured the personal experiences of children in the Cayman Islands who had been feeling the psychological impression of COVID-19 lockdown measures.  Higher than perfect highlighting the concern, nevertheless, Ms. Ewing-Chow’s article offered perception from consultants and offered tricks for supporting children combating their mental health. This included one of the fundamental targets of the PAHO/CDB/CBU coaching series – to encourage journalists to offer advice and solutions.

Ms. Ewing-Chow, a Barbadian who moved to the Cayman Islands two years ago, acknowledged while she used to be contented to interact the award, it used to be great more rewarding to had been ready to lift consciousness and offer solutions to what she believes is good the beginning of a keen situation.

“I need other folks to understand that here is a well-known concern. We in the Caribbean and the English-talking Caribbean are so lucky that COVID has now not hit us from a health level of view as keen as other international locations in the world. The mental health fallout that has come out of this has, in my eyes, been of great graver impression than one thing else. I contemplate that we’re but to acknowledge the impression of this pandemic from a mental health level of view on our childhood,” she acknowledged. Ms. Ewing-Chow had excessive praise for the PAHO/CBD/CBU coaching series. “Positively from the solutions-primarily based level of view, it added a lot of cost,” the journalist acknowledged.

The virtual coaching series used to be section of a wider PAHO/CDB mission “Constructing person and social resilience to manage with the impacts of pure hazard occasions: making improvements to means for mental health and psychosocial fortify in catastrophe administration in the Caribbean,” which used to be designed to fabricate person and social resilience to manage with the impacts of assorted shocks. The three-year mission began after hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and used to be expanded to handle the impacts of COVID-19.

Contacts 

Daniel Epstein 


Nancy Nusser 


Sebastián Oliel


Ashley 1st earl baldwin of bewdley 


Nadia Peimbert-Rappaport 

mediateam@paho.org 

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Caribbean journalists and communicators prepare for challenges of reporting on mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic