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Production   /  Helen Barrow




Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Helen Barrow

  • PRODUCER Helen Barrow, Jenny Ainge, Julia Overton



Journalism and journalists are under attack. War has come to them: They go to war every day: they live and work on a 24-hour frontline that poses multiple risks to their mental health. “Fake news”. Social media abuse. Trolls. Governments and organisations that mislead, lie and sue. Economic pressures on the media model. The lack of public trust. Diminishing press freedoms. Journalists were once seen as neutral observers, whether on the battlefield of war or politics. Not anymore.

The story investigates the day-to-day ethical and emotional challenges of senior journalists, editors and photographers working around the world. They share their unique and at times harrowing stories. They grapple with the legacy of trauma and recover from its life-changing impact whilst doing the job they love. They highlight the issues and causes affecting their work and their mental health. They acknowledge that journalists are mentally at risk when reporting for the relentless 24/7 news cycle.

Support this project

16.51% funded
  • $100,000.00

  • $16,510.00

  • January 2020

  • 3

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $10.00
OFFLINE DONATION Anonymous $7,500.00
Offline Donation Kim Williams $9,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Trauma and PTSD are the outcomes for one in forty journalists and it’s getting worse.

There is no more important time to be a journalist - in a world of cultural warriors, a world of polarization and politics opinion and a cacophony of news. Right now more than any other time, having journalists with a north star who really believe that telling the world what is happening is important. Even though there are attacks on journalist safety, emotional wellbeing and credibility as journalists - this is precisely the time to have journalists who believe in that mission. By seeing the damage of the trauma they face the audience questions the future for journalists. Through personal stories of recovery, like Dean Yates, Reuter’s first-ever advocate for Mental Health - we show how trauma collectively damages you when you are just trying to do your job. Dean and the other journalists in the story want the world to understand that now is the time to act, to change for a better future.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Reporter, Dean Yates, and colleagues challenge us to acknowledge the struggles they face working in the digital age. If they can no longer do their job properly, if there is no accountability, then democracy itself is threatened. From this point, the story takes a wider focus and asks how can individuals, news organisations and even countries - such as Syria - ever recover if trauma is the bedrock of your experience?


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short term: The film will be available to a worldwide group of journalists, through their professional associations and social media platforms. This allows the messages on self-care and preparedness to face work trauma; to travel widely.
In the medium term: Wider applications to the other occupational groups known to suffer from PTSD and Trauma . These include the first responders in Police, Ambulance, and Fire Service. This is in addition to soldiers - who are the most widely known group suffering from Trauma-related illnesses but also the most cared for.
Long term: We are working in tandem with Dean Yates and the Black Dog Institute at UNSW. They have a major research interest in refugees and displaced people suffering from Trauma. These are some of the most oppressed and psychologically damaged people suffering from trauma-related illnesses. The Black Dog and other refugee support groups will have access to the film and the rights to use it in training and treatment plans.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Activities include: organizational partnerships, educational guides, targeted stakeholder/community screenings, social media strategies, multi-platform activity, and social change campaigns. During production, we also will work with the lead character, Dean Yates and other experts to create a suite of material including guides, partnerships, screenings, and initiatives as required. By seeing the film those suffering from, or knowing someone suffering from PTSD, will be motivated to seek help. In addition, our lead character, Dean Yates, currently works with Reuters and their Mental Health program supporting those suffering from trauma and on strategies to prevent it happening to others. Dean's role allows him to be a passionate advocate for outreach and impact programs, and his work will be supported by the visual material we are creating.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Partnerships include - Dean Yates of Reuters International ( the largest multimedia organisation in the world), Anne Barnard of The New York Times and Patrick Baz of Agence France Presse. These three are key characters in the film. These relationships have been carefully nurtured during the development and early shooting phase of the film. We are also working with The Black Dog Institute in Australia and The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma (with offices in the US, UK and Australia). We are exploring other avenues such as the 2019 Mad World Summit in London for workplace mental health and well being. Dean Yates is one of their featured speakers and we are filming there. We have formed a strategic alliance with Clothilde Redfern of the Rory Peck Trust who have pledged help in marketing and distribution of the film among freelance journalists and their families. Dr. Melanie Bunce is also assisting us with the development and cross-promotion of her book, The Broken Estate.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

For those who suffer from Trauma and PTSD we would hope they realise they are not alone. For the families of those who suffer Trauma and PTSD the same. For medical professionals, we would hope the film, or small and carefully targeted sections of the film, will assist their work and their patients. We expect the film will prompt decision-makers and policymakers to ensure there is funding for help and support of those who suffer from Trauma and PTSD and to allow for treatment without fear of loss of employment. To see viewers acknowledge the real and present danger that exists in the work of journalists and the importance of informed and non-judgemental reporting of stories to our society in general. This message is particularly important in the current environment of ‘fake’ news, the 24-hour news cycle and the pressure this puts on journalists.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

1. Traffic to Dean’s website and open and closed facebook pages.
2. Encourage news organisations to appoint their own Mental health advocate in the Workplace
3. Dean Yates and our team’s link with the UNSW Black Dog Institute’s trauma and PTSD research team will ensure focus group testing. These results are likely to be published and will be conducted using evidence-based research methodology.