- Sarah French
Poynter suggests using the Headspace app. According to Poynter's website, "The Headspace app is a great resource for anyone looking to get into meditation. If you’re feeling out of sorts, the Take10 series will set you on the right track."
Healium is a virtual reality headset that was created by former anchor/reporter Sarah Hill in response to her own inability to deal with the stressors of news. Hill said the lifestyle made her sick in the form of insomnia. She said, "It started first as insomnia. I was like, why am I not able to sleep?" Ultimately this led to panic attacks. "So I had to get out of the business to save my health," she said. According Healium's website,
Healium is a clinically-validated mental fitness channel that uses virtual and augmented reality apps for the self-management of stress and anxiety … It's the world's first virtual and augmented reality media channel powered by brainwaves and heart rate via an EEG headband or Apple Watch.
Heather Hargraves says she uses Healium and Virtual Reality all the time for herself and her clients. She is a trauma therapist in Ontario, Canada. Hargraves also suffered from her own traumatic experience in a car accident while she was in college. After using Healium, she said, “I felt like my brain had been rewired from my accident.” According to Healium's story on Heather, "She's looking forward to companies creating more personalized and portable headsets that can be taken home and used more frequently. Heather recommends her clients use Healium in between sessions." Sarah Hill said, “We started doing brain maps to see how is this media impacting the user? And can we compound the media much like a drug to downshift their nervous system and elevate the therapeutic brain patterns and de-escalate the ones that weren't? And the answer to that was yes, you can. And I had tried neurofeedback to help me quiet my own mind with insomnia. And I had invented stories for myself because I found the experiences incredibly boring. And so Healium is just a combination of really me trying to fix myself, and finding a drugless solution to downshift my nervous system, but then also training my brain because that's what's wrong with traditional meditation, you can't see your own brain patterns or heart rate in real-time.”
Hill suggests newsrooms install Healium stations like they’ve started doing in schools. She said, “It's a clean box that's in the newsroom; it's always ready. And you know, essentially, much like you would like a vending machine. People can take turns using it.” She added, “Ideally, what these stations should do is to get a personal kit for each person. So that before they go to bed at night, they can do some training sessions and learn on their own. But not all of them are going to do that. So the lowest barrier to entry is they get one station, install it, it has a clean box in there and a year license of healing content, we add new content every 60 days, so it never gets old.”
Hill explained, “Newsrooms are not equipping journalists with mental health armor. And, you know, your stress and mental wellness can make more of an impact than if someone were to injure you physically. It's the cause of 60% of illness and disease. It's 90% of the reason why people go to see the doctor.” She continued, “What needs to happen is not reactionary, in that you experience something and you have an issue, it needs to be resilience. You need to be constantly doing trainings, on your own mental wellness, learn about your brain patterns, how you can control them, because if not, you know, like me, and like you, you get back from covering a natural disaster and see a bunch of bodies. And you just, you don't have a way to process that.”
Hill added that newsrooms can be a tough sell. “They haven't historically poured a lot of resources into mental wellness, other than we've got counselors,” she said. “What needs to happen is that they need to be thinking about their journalists, as tactical athletes that need mental health armor, and mental health hygiene.”
Image of Healium’s impact on users’ fast activity in the brain.