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Journalists share mental health trials after reporter ‘broke down’ over coronavirus

Liam Thorp 1A regional daily’s political editor has opened up on how he “broke down” this week due to covering the current coronavirus crisis – prompting other journalists to share similar experiences.

Liam Thorp, of the Liverpool Echo, says he has been “overwhelmed” with the support he has received after publicly revealing his mental health struggles while reporting on the “relentlessness and bleakness” of the current situation.

Liam, pictured, is now taking time off work to recover after discussing his situation with bosses at the Echo.

A number of regional journalists and others have also come forward to share similar experiences as a result of Liam’s decision to go public on Twitter.

Posting on Tuesday, he wrote: “Had a real wobble yesterday, broke down a bit, felt like everything just hit me at once, the relentlessness and bleakness of it all. Won’t be the only one, think a lot of people are struggling.

“It’s difficult when you can’t really switch off from this stuff, when it is your job to consume it, digest it, feel it all – I know I’m really lucky to have a good job and so many others in a much, much worse position – but just explaining a bit.

“I’m even luckier to have very understanding colleagues and bosses and a remarkably patient better half.

“The best thing I could advise is talking about it (sounds obvious I know) – I emailed my bosses to explain the situation and they were great, told me to take any time I needed and offered support. Felt like a big weight just lifted off, think I’d been bottling it up for a while.”

Liam’s posts, which have been shared hundreds of times and came on the day the UK recorded 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, prompted other journalists to share recent similar experiences.

Ethan Davies, who works as a local democracy reporter in Cheshire for Newsquest and the BBC, wrote: “Thanks for sharing Liam, it’s made me feel more comfortable opening up as well. I had a similar experience over the weekend, just fell off the horse.”

Steph Brawn, who works as an LDR in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde with Reach plc, added: “It’s so good you have been open about this Liam, more people need to be. I have had a few wobbles throughout this crisis, and I don’t suppose I’ve seen the last of them just yet.”

And Manchester Evening News politics and investigations editor Jennifer Williams said: “Same. Be kind to yourself and try to switch off your brain (and the news).”

Liam has thanked those who have supported him since going public on the situation.

Speaking to HTFP, he said: “I was initially a bit nervous about putting my feelings out there on Twitter but the response was amazing, overwhelming and really cathartic for me.

“So many people got in touch with kind messages but perhaps most importantly many people – including lots of media colleagues – responded by sharing their own struggles.

“I hope maybe they felt more able to do that having seen someone else do it first. My bosses have been brilliant and really supportive and have suggested I take a couple of days off to recharge so that’s what I will be doing.”

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