On a sunny day in June, Sian gave an interview to Daily Mirror political editor Pippa Crerar for the female journalists membership group Women In Journalism.
Sian described to the virtual audience of female journalists why she chose to expand her career to become a psychologist.
“Journalists are parachuted in to somebody’s life at their worse possible moments,” she said.
“There are huge responsibilities that come with that – to those you are talking to and hearing from, but also responsibilities for your own mental health as well.
“There can be a lot of guilt that’s associated with that for journalists. They are in that bearing-witness role, but not in a helping role, in the same way as a first responder would be.
“That can create pressure… sometimes that would overflow.”
Sian’s interest in how the brain operates at these times led her to study an MSC in Psychology. She is now in her final year of a Professional Doctorate of Counselling Psychology.
During the conversation, Sian discussed resilience within journalistic practice. She suggested that isolated or freelance workers might not enjoy the same mental heath support and protection as in-house staff.
“The way we’ve been working over Covid… we’re suddenly doing a story that does impact on our lives,” she said.
“Coming out of lockdown… we need to be aware that a crisis can occur, and traumatic responses can occur, after that trauma is over.”
She advised journalists to “take one step at a time” when reporting on the pandemic.
“Be where you are, do the things that will benefit you in that moment, try not to catastrophise.”