As a reporter for a major Canadian television station, Alissa Thibault is used to sharing difficult news and personal stories. But this time, she’s telling her own.
Thibault, a CTV fixture, is sharing her reasons why she hasn’t been on-air in over a month, and it’s opening up a bigger conversation online surrounding mental health.
“I haven’t been on-air since this day, April 6. I had felt “off” for a while and a few days later my counsellor told me I had burnout and early onset PTSD. The traumatic stories, graphic images and online abuse finally got to me after 12 years in the news business,” she wrote on Twitter.
She says she developed symptoms and needed to address them.
“I was irritable, had trouble concentrating, was having flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety attacks frequently. When faced with extreme emotions (anger, love etc) my brain shut off as a protection mechanism and I couldn’t feel them anymore. I was no longer myself,” her social media thread reads.
The Australian Canadian reporter’s work has aired across the country. Formally with CBC National and CityNews1130, and now in Vancouver, where she says she’s grateful for the chance to heal.
She thanks CTV for the support as she takes time away to focus on her health.
Her fans, colleagues at CTV, and other journalists in the city are rallying behind her and offering messages of support online.
I wondered where you were Alissa. Get better. Take time. We will wait.
— maria makiling (@bcmariamakiling) May 19, 2023
We miss you. I’m sorry you have been going through this. ❤️
— Keri Adams (@Keri_Adams) May 19, 2023
You are a total pro. Among the best journalists in the city. Take the time you need to heal and process what you’ve experienced. We need you!
— Jordan Armstrong (@jarmstrongbc) May 19, 2023
She isn’t the first journalist to go public with the impact of news reporting on their mental health.
Daily Hive spoke with Global’s Coleen Christie recently regarding an emotional moment on air. Christie shared that the story she was reading, along with the recent loss of her father and a breakup, led to her tearing up while on television. She said that the moment highlighted how important it is for the industry to allow journalists to be human as they continue to face threats and harassment.
Last year, CBC’s Isabelle Raghem went public with her own challenges with burnout, which forced her to leave her anchor position with the national public broadcaster.
“Haven’t been able to read a book for months, felt the creative juices completely dried up,” she said on Twitter. “Constantly low energy. Never feeling rested. Feeling like a worker robot just checking off a list of to-dos.”
But, for fans of Thibault’s reporting, they can take some comfort in the message shared by the reporter on Friday.
“I’ll be back.”
I’m thankful I caught it and I’m incredibly grateful that CTV understood and encouraged me to take time off to heal, and I still have a way to go. This is why you haven’t seen me on TV for a while, but I’ll be back x
— Alissa Thibault (@AlissaMThibault) May 19, 2023