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Journalism trainer’s play to challenge newsroom mental health stigma

Lisa-Bradley-200sqThe stigma surrounding poor mental health in newsrooms is set to be challenged in a new play co-written by a journalism trainer.

Lisa Bradley, deputy head of journalism studies at the University of Sheffield, has joined forces with her friend, professional actress Lucy Mizen, to pen Unbreakable, a one-act play centred around the “everyday trauma journalists experience in the newsroom”.

Lisa, a former deputy editor of the Wakefield Express, drew on her own personal experiences as a regional and national reporter, as well as interviews with a wide range for journalists from trainee reporters to war correspondents, to co-devise and write Unbreakable.

Lucy, whose credits include Coronation Street and Emmerdale, will star in the play alongside Ellen Caranazza and Ian Jervis.

University of Sheffield senior Lecturer Lada Price, who bid for funding to develop and produce the play, said: “The issue of trauma and poor mental health in journalism still carries a lot of stigma in newsrooms.

“Journalists are reluctant to talk about their own experiences but, as educators and scholars, we have a duty of care to our students and young journalists to prepare them to cope with future challenges in their daily practice.

“The idea behind the play is to engage a diverse community of scholars, journalists, students and members of the public with the issue and raise awareness in an innovative and engaging way that demonstrates the reality in many newsrooms.”

The play will be performed at the University of Sheffield’s drama studio as part of a symposium into journalism trauma, but the free event on 15 June is open to the wider public.

In 2021, Lisa raised concerns about a shortage of mental health support for journalism students after revealing she had to come to the aid of some who feel “suicidal”.

She warned at the time that the amount of pastoral care needed by students was “off the scale”.