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Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals

First draft of a slide pack to support the Happiness in Media Work project, dedicated to understanding and improving the mental health and well-being of media professionals (in journalism, film/TV, games, advertising, music, and social media entertainment).

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Mark Deuze
University of Amsterdam
mdeuze@uva.nl
@markdeuze
#happinessinjournalism
#mediawork
#hodj2022
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals
Mark Deuze
University of Amsterdam
mdeuze@uva.nl
@markdeuze
#happinessinjournalism
#mediawork
#hodj2022

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Mental Health and Well-Being of Media Professionals

Editor's Notes

  1. 1. Reports on mental health & well-being among media professionals around the world suggest something of a mental health crisis (and a lack of mental health literacy, as well as little or no industry resources and policies to deal with this)
  2. 2. The reason why this is important for us as media scholars #1: ethical duty of care for what we study, our students who want careers in the media, and if professionals who are responsible for our news (and entertainment) are unhappy/unhealthy this impacts the quality (i.e. health) of our democracies and societies
  3. deregulation & rise of atypical work in the context of mass layoffs and decline of traditional media business models 3. Following Reese and Shoemaker’s (2016) modelling of influences on the complex factors that shape how media get made, it is possible to parse out different yet interlocking explanations for the current mental health crisis in media work: (macro) rise of the risk society (where hazards are machined, giving rise to ontological insecurity, and a greater sense of fear and other intensely negative emotions), fueled by an ongoing emotionalization of culture (society isn’t necessarily becoming more emotional, but emotions are becoming increasingly commodified, through advertising especially after its Marlboro moment – and shift to lifestyle marketing, entertainment, and especially the news such as for example the Gulf War), and of course the global financial crisis of 2007-2008; (meso) increasing deregulation of media/telecom/tech industries in the 1990s onward, decline of traditional media business models (advertising, sales, subscriptions) and the rapid rise of digital/online, automation/datafication, (micro) casualization of labor, rise of atypical work (full-time employment is being replaced by contingent and flexible working biographies that are pieced together by individuals in constant states of transition and self-reinvention), cross-subsidizing work, portfolio careers, ‘boundaryless’ or ‘spiral staircase’ careers, dunkelziffer of freelancing, and a burgeoning focus on work as an arena for individuals to find meaning and purpose (meaningfulness derived from work as being purposeful and contributing to self-realization) since the late 1990s.
  4. Financial crisis globally 2007-2008 3. Following Reese and Shoemaker’s (2016) modelling of influences on the complex factors that shape how media get made, it is possible to parse out different yet interlocking explanations for the current mental health crisis in media work: (macro) rise of the risk society (where hazards are machined, giving rise to ontological insecurity, and a greater sense of fear and other intensely negative emotions), fueled by an ongoing emotionalization of culture (society isn’t necessarily becoming more emotional, but emotions are becoming increasingly commodified, through advertising especially after its Marlboro moment – and shift to lifestyle marketing, entertainment, and especially the news such as for example the Gulf War), and of course the global financial crisis of 2007-2008; (meso) increasing deregulation of media/telecom/tech industries in the 1990s onward, decline of traditional media business models (advertising, sales, subscriptions) and the rapid rise of digital/online, automation/datafication, (micro) casualization of labor, rise of atypical work (full-time employment is being replaced by contingent and flexible working biographies that are pieced together by individuals in constant states of transition and self-reinvention), cross-subsidizing work, portfolio careers, ‘boundaryless’ or ‘spiral staircase’ careers, dunkelziffer of freelancing, and a burgeoning focus on work as an arena for individuals to find meaning and purpose (meaningfulness derived from work as being purposeful and contributing to self-realization) since the late 1990s.
  5. meaningful work 3. Following Reese and Shoemaker’s (2016) modelling of influences on the complex factors that shape how media get made, it is possible to parse out different yet interlocking explanations for the current mental health crisis in media work: (macro) rise of the risk society (where hazards are machined, giving rise to ontological insecurity, and a greater sense of fear and other intensely negative emotions), fueled by an ongoing emotionalization of culture (society isn’t necessarily becoming more emotional, but emotions are becoming increasingly commodified, through advertising especially after its Marlboro moment – and shift to lifestyle marketing, entertainment, and especially the news such as for example the Gulf War), and of course the global financial crisis of 2007-2008; (meso) increasing deregulation of media/telecom/tech industries in the 1990s onward, decline of traditional media business models (advertising, sales, subscriptions) and the rapid rise of digital/online, automation/datafication, (micro) casualization of labor, rise of atypical work (full-time employment is being replaced by contingent and flexible working biographies that are pieced together by individuals in constant states of transition and self-reinvention), cross-subsidizing work, portfolio careers, ‘boundaryless’ or ‘spiral staircase’ careers, dunkelziffer of freelancing, and a burgeoning focus on work as an arena for individuals to find meaning and purpose (meaningfulness derived from work as being purposeful and contributing to self-realization) since the late 1990s.
  6. pandemic 2021-
  7. 4. All of this leads to higher risk of coronary heart disease, work disability, increased blood pressure, depressive disorders, lack of innovation, professionals deciding to leave the profession. Bottom line: lack of control (over what happens to you and your work) plus high work pressure/ stress produces mental health disorders
  8. 5. in the medical literature a rich tradition of work outlines key work-related psychosocial risk factors for stress-related mental disorders (exhibiting the largest increased risk/incidence of SRD, varying from 60% to 90%), which generally seem to be typical for the media: effort and reward imbalance, low organisational justice, and unusual high job demands; and reason #2: this works vice versa: research that suggests clear relations between different kinds of worker well-being (pleasure & meaning), employee engagement, job performance, and overall quality of the work and the end-product or service being delivered;
  9. 6. What has the literature (and specifically media/communication/journalism studies) done to addres this thus far? Studies on (pseudo-problematization of) precarity and atypical work, Hesmondhalgh & Baker’s good work approach (similar to literature on meaningful work), Happy Productive Worker thesis
  10. 7. What can we (as scholars, educators, current or future media professionals) do? overall: mental health literacy, (macro) creative justice, (meso) collective organization & organized networks, good work-principled management, best industry practices, (micro) different/new individual mental models of media work.
  11. mental health literacy: knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention (Anthony Jorm, mid-1990s Australia, also founded mental health first aid training). Mental health literacy consists of several components, including: the ability to recognise specific disorders or different types of psychological distress; knowledge and beliefs about risk factors and causes; knowledge and beliefs about self-help interventions; knowledge and beliefs about professional help available; attitudes which facilitate recognition and appropriate help-seeking; and knowledge of how to seek mental health information.
  12. 7. What can we (as scholars, educators, current or future media professionals) do? overall: mental health literacy, (macro) creative justice, (meso) collective organization & organized networks, good work-principled management, best industry practices, (micro) different/new individual mental models of media work.