Coping with Trauma

Coping with Trauma

Trauma is often at the heart of the news our members cover. How it’s reported gives those who weren’t there their first understanding of what a traumatic event means. The journalism of trauma matters, and journalists have a profound responsibility to tell the story well. Their work can reflect, reinforce, and calm — or exacerbate — the grief and distress that ripples out from death and injury.

Covering trauma can also have an impact on those who do the reporting. In just the past year MPA members have had to cover a pandemic responsible for many many deaths and devastating illness in our state and nation, civil unrest, and the never ending stories of murders, natural disasters and other events that impact communities in a tragic way.

MPA understands that journalists are the first to respond to emergent situations…right behind police, EMT and Fire personnel…and doing the job of reporting these events can lead to stress and trauma.

We’ve enlisted the help of an expert brought to us by our friends at Butzel Long… Debbie Vallandingham is a licensed clinical social worker and Bereavement Manager at Angela Hospice. A graduate of Wayne State University, Debbie has worked with individuals, children, adolescents, young adults, couples, families and groups in the areas of grief and loss, including end of life care, palliative care and hospice. Aiming for innovative approaches, she initiated Angela Hospice’s virtual groups including a COVID-19 group, Survivors of Loss from Suicide and Overdose, and an online music therapy group for children.

Debbie works as a registered therapy animal team with her dog Piper, a toy fox terrier, through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She provides clinical and administrative supervision to social work interns and professionals. She authors a monthly column on grief and loss for Angela Hospice’s Volunteer Newsletter. She is also a Certified Grief Counseling Specialist.

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