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SANEF & SADAG launch partnership to help journalists with mental health support

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The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is thrilled to announce a key partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) as it strives to prioritise journalism wellness in all newsrooms across the country.

As Covid-19 continues to sweep through South Africa, there is no doubt that many journalists are directly feeling the impact and the trauma of what is unfolding in the country. Journalists are on the front lines of this pandemic – reporting on every aspect from the sick and the dying, to job losses, the economic impact and corruption.

The media fraternity has lost too many valued colleagues as a direct result of Covid-19 and journalists have also experienced much personal loss.

This, coupled with other stories dominating the news cycle has resulted in growing numbers of journalists experiencing PTSD, burnout, anxiety and depression.

Prioritising the mental and psychological support of journalists is a critical part of SANEF’s work and we look forward to the full roll-out of the partnership with SADAG.

As part of this rollout, we will undertake the following: 


–        Hosting online webinars with key experts on mental health issues, as well as speakers with lived experience. These will be recorded and shared with journalists who weren’t able to attend.

–    We will cover key topics including grief, trauma, burnout, compassion fatigue, managing anxiety, coping with workplace stress, depression, etc.


–        An online survey specifically focused on the mental health of journalists will be developed in order to assess symptoms of anxiety, stress and trauma.


–        The programme will be rolled out to all newsrooms and SADAG will host smaller workshops with editors and newsroom leaders to equip them with critical tools such as debriefing skills, basic counselling skills, trauma debriefing containment and mental health in the workplace.


–        SADAG will provide a free mental health support service to all journalists through a dedicated 24-hour SMS service (SMS number: 31985) that will run 7 days a week. Journalists seeking mental health help, support or crisis intervention will be able to SMS the number and a SADAG counsellor will call them back within 15 minutes to assist further.

–        SADAG will provide free telephone counselling, trauma debriefing and containment, as well as use its extensive referral guide of nationwide resources to assist journalists

–        In specific cases where journalists cannot afford therapy or counselling. SADAG will use its network of pro-bono mental health professionals and partnerships with key organisations to assist further.

–        SADAG will keep calls strictly confidential and keep detailed case management notes

We are excited to announce that the Webinars have already kicked off and another will be held on July 10th with all SANEF members and any and all affected journalists who would like to attend (https://bit.ly/3y76oKe)

July is Mental Health Awareness Month and there is no better time than now to roll out this project to all newsrooms.

SANEF AND SADAG encourages all editors and journalists across the country to make use of these services and to participate in the webinars.

The training is to be held on Saturday, 10 July, from 9am to 12pm.

Note to Editors: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is one of the country’s leading mental health patient support and advocacy group which has been running for the last 27 years. SADAG’s aim is to destigmatise mental health and create awareness to help encourage more people to get help and support. It runs a 24-hour helpline call centre providing free telephone counselling, information and referral to resources nationwide. SADAG also runs over 160+ Support Groups nationwide, rural outreach programmes, school talk programmes, corporate wellness workshops, advocacy projects and awareness campaigns.

SADAG has worked closely with press and media over the years and really value their help in creating awareness around mental health and supporting the work we do. It is important for SADAG to partner with SANEF to make sure we can also help look after the mental health of journalists around the country who deal with high levels of stress, anxiety, trauma and grief on a daily basis. They also need support, and this is our way of giving back to them during these difficult times especially.

Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information please contact:


Cassey Chambers – [email protected] or 082 835 7650

Kayla Philips – [email protected]


Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022

Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852

Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972

Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957

Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director – (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]  Website: www.sanef.org.za