I was recently invited to NYC by Instagram to give two presentations about how I've been using their Stories platform to cover the battle for Mosul. Some of my imagery from northern Iraq is also on display at the Instagram and Facebook offices in Manhattan.
Myself, along with a handful of other journalists and photographers, spent the first five days of May in Northern Ireland as part of a program focused on mental health and trauma faced by journalists working in conflict around the world. The retreat was held at the lovely Corrymeela Center just outside Ballycastle and graciously funded by the IWMF. We spent everyday from morning to sunset focusing on ways to deal with trauma faced by ourselves, colleagues, and subjects - including daily morning yoga routines, lots of discussion sessions, and hiking. I firmly believe that in order to continue doing our jobs to the best of our ability we must take care of ourselves - both body and mind. It’s much easier to put armor over your chest than your thoughts. I know many of you are conflict journalists and others combat veterans. Mental trauma is a physical injury and we need change the stigma that it is a sign of weakness. You’re not weak for having a brain injury, just like you wouldn’t be weak for having a bullet wound. I’ll post more about this later but I’ll leave you with this easy takeaway from the class. R.A.F.T. - Rest (and breathe, reflect, replenish), Access (a mentor or buddy to talk out your experiences), Focus (on your purpose, meaning, and professional skills), and Take (in whole foods, water, sleep, and exercise). Stay safe and much love. Take care of one another. You are not alone.