All you have to do is talk

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talking, mental health, Academy, students, Alex Veeneman, Kettle Mag
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Journalism is one of the most rewarding professions in the world. It also can be one of the most stressful, especially for those who aspire to hope to work in the industry.

From news about layoffs to uneasy and abject criticism about the profession itself, it has become common to wonder not only if you’ll be able to achieve a career in journalism, or most of all, make a difference. These concerns are abundant in conjunction with deadlines, exams and essays – hallmarks of life in student journalism.

Sometimes, stress and anxiety are not easy things to discuss with anyone. We go through thinking about what stories that need to be written, what errands need to be done, and things that have to be complete before the day is out. One is hesitant at times to even bring up their mental health – either because of concerns of reaction or how to properly discuss it.

Talking really helps

We’re all human. Having stress or anxiety doesn’t make you different from anyone else.

I know this well. I’ve had days where things are going great, and I’ve had days when the world was all too much to bare, where I wondered about my future, or if I was doing the right thing. I also kept it to myself most of the time, and just went about the day. I was encompassed with worry and panic, and I didn’t know what to do.

This shouldn’t be something you keep to yourself.

What I found helpful was simple but also the most meaningful – talking to someone, be it with my mum or with a good friend. It helped me deal with my emotions, and allow me to process and think about things better. It’s something I do regularly, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Aubrey Allegretti, a political reporter for The Huffington Post, recently reflected about his mental health experiences for a vlog. In fact, it was talking about it which has helped him the most.

“It’s the single greatest piece of advice that I can give to anyone really, is basically just to share their experiences and talk to other people about them,” Allegretti said. “The more you don’t and bottle them up inside you, the more harm that is going to do.”

It is believed that the simplest things are often the most important. That also applies to journalism, and to self-care. Whether it’s your mum, your mate, or your significant other, get a cuppa and have a chat. Someone is always there to listen and to help. Though it may be difficult at first, but it’s worth it when all is said and done.

You chose to work in a profession that every day ensures the world remains at its best. You can help continue that by ensuring you are at your best. All you have to do is talk.

This essay for Kettle Academy was written in observance of Mental Health Awareness Week. If you need support, please contact Samaritans anytime on 116 123. You can also obtain advice and support by contacting the mental health charity Mind.

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I'm one of Kettle's Managing Editors, as well as a contributing writer for the site.

I write about British media and journalism, as well as on current affairs and culture. I am also interested in the future of radio in the UK, particularly the role of the BBC and public service broadcasting.

I have been contributing and editing for Kettle since April 2012.

I'd love to hear from you. You can email me or reach me via Twitter at the username below.