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Free counselling services for Journalists & Media Workers

But what about your story?

As a journalist you tell everyone else's stories—but what about your own?

At some point in all our lives we face extreme pressure at work and at home which have an effect on us. We struggle to cope. Sometimes we get depressed or feel a great deal of anxiety.

And especially, given the nature of the Pakistan news cycle, our jobs expose us to a never-ending cycle of violence, risk, trauma and threats. Working on deadline every day and not getting any relief from the steady flow of bad news, which we have to tell, is extremely challenging sometimes.

So what about our stories?

In recognition of the fact that journalists and media workers deserve immense support, especially because of the high-stress nature of their job, the Centre for Excellence in Journalism and Deutsche-Welle Akademie are collaborating to bring you a free counselling service.

Anyone who is a journalist or a newsroom staffer with a media organisation is eligible. You could be an NLE, a rundown scheduler, a photographer, a cameraman, a DSNG operator, a reporter, a sub-editor, a pagemaker, a radio station technician. It is open to freelance journalists too.

This psychological counselling is completely free of charge.

This service is completely confidential. We have set up a system to ensure that your identity or personal details remain undisclosed. No personal information will be shared with CEJ-DW.

Our Psychologists

Tabinda Afzal

is one of the clinical psychologists of the CEJ Wellbeing Centre. She is a PhD fellow with experience supporting diverse communities. She has worked in rehabilitation and counselling in Pakistan for over 7 years and is senior faculty at Bahria University.

Zainab Barry

is an associate clinical psychologist holding Master's and Post master's degree in clinical psychology from Institute of professional psychology, Bahria University. She has trained in NLP & hypnotherapy from USA-NGH-ICP. Zainab has gained training in Cognitive Behavioural therapy CBT from Pakistan association of cognitive behavioural therapist (PACBT).

Dr. Asha Bedar

is Clinical Psychologist, trainer, group facilitator and researcher with over 18 years of experience working with individuals and groups, including women, children, youth and men. Dr Asha began her career in the NGO sector in Islamabad, working specifically on gender and violence against women and children. She completed her PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia after which she has worked extensively with individuals, groups, families and professionals, both in Pakistan and Australia over the last 12 years. Her work includes counselling/therapy, capacity building, group-work, research, resource material development and project design and implementation related to mental and emotional health, violence against women and children, gender, human rights, life skills development; resilience; post-disaster psychosocial support and peace-education.

Mahnoor Shaikh

Mahnoor Shaikh has an MS in Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Professional Psychology, Bahria University. She has worked as a student counsellor at the Aga Khan University Hospital, a psychologist at Dr Bilal's Medical and Dental Clinics, Dr Tahira's Psychological Health Center, as visiting faculty at the Institute of Professional Psychology, Bahria University, SZABIST, and at the Institute of Professional Psychology, PNS Shifa Hospital. She has worked with children and adults, with individuals and groups presenting with depression, anxiety, OCD, learning disabilities, ADHD, Autism.

Please note: As psychologists do not prescribe medication. However, if you and her feel you need to explore taking medication, she can help by referring you to a clinical psychiatrist. (This would not be covered under this service).

Our Psychiatrist

Dr. Uzma Ambareen

is the Medical Director for The Recovery House in Karachi and one of Pakistan's most senior clinical psychiatrists.She trained from Hahnema University and Brown University and has a Fellowship in Public Psychiatry from Columbia University.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions depends on the nature of your personal challenges, but usually more than one session is required. Psychologist will discuss the best possible options with you.

Checklist for Mental Health

We have created a simple checklist for you, the journalist, to assess how you are doing. The idea is to be able to figure out if you need help. It is quite usual to tick many boxes -- it is when these signs and symptoms are interfering with the quality of your life that you may want to get some support. At no point will you need to provide your name.

This is a completely anonymous form.

The CEJ Well-Being Checklist:

If you want to fill it in English:

If you want to fill it in Urdu:

For any queries

Please email, call or message our coordinator Qurat-ul-Ain Ali
Cell: +92 349 200 2567