NASW SciWriThrive: A mental health-focused support group for science writers

Guidelines + Meeting Information

The SciWriThrive network is a regular, member-organized space for scicomm professionals to talk openly about personal + professional challenges and to thrive off each other's wisdom.

How it works

The cornerstone of the network is a biweekly virtual meeting where we gather to reflect on our triumphs and obstacles of the previous week. We celebrate what's going well, but we also ask ourselves questions to facilitate our navigation of personal challenges. These challenges could be as exploratory as navigating the confusing terrain of a freelancer who's just starting out, or they could be as personal yet focused as making headway on one's mental health goals while working from home as a PIO.

This is where a network of science writers can help!

Each weekly meetup will last for 60 minutes. Each meeting begins with a welcome and a reminder of this group’s agreements (see section below), which encompass NASW’s meeting code of conduct. While these agreements are intended to foster a safe space, what participants choose to disclose is up to them. Participants are encouraged to talk as openly as they would like about their scicomm career and mental health. Given the suggested topic, participants should expect exposure to conversation that is a little more personal and private than everyday conversation between colleagues. Unless a participant gives explicit consent, whatever is said in the meeting must not leave the meeting.

Limitations of the network

The network aims to serve as a member-run space for finding solidarity in the professional and personal challenges we share. This can include sharing mental health challenges without having to explain their complexities and depth. While sharing of mental health challenges is warmly welcomed, NASW’s SciWriThrive network is an informal peer network, not group therapy. It is not run by doctors, mental health professionals, or trained facilitators and is not intended to be a substitute for therapy (etc. etc.). We encourage participants to use the resources below to explore therapy or other forms of professional help as needed. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, please contact a doctor immediately and/or contact:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Additional resources for mental health support, many of which are specific to media, can be found at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. This re-cap of the October 2020 ScienceWriters session "Taking care of yourself" has some tips and links to additional resources, as well.

Meeting date + time

The first meeting will be Tuesday, May 11 at 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST.

The second meeting will be Tuesday, May 25 at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST.

Meetings will take place on Zoom on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. The current schedule alternates between the 2nd Tuesday at 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST and the 4th Tuesday at 5:00 PM PST / 8:00 PM EST. Meetings will continue on this schedule until further notice.

Click here for information on how to join the Zoom meeting.

Agreements and privacy

In addition to abiding by the Conference and Meeting Code of Conduct, all participants in the SciWriThrive network agree to abide by these principles in order to create a space of solidarity and support:

-Every participant has an equal voice and responsibility. Everyone should have a chance to share.

No one person should monopolize the group or the time.

-Every participant strives to be an active listener, offering compassion and encouragement and speaking from a place of care.

-Every participant strives to be non-judgmental, encouraging, and supportive. Participants must not engage in biased, demeaning, intimidating, coercive, or harassing/hostile conduct or commentary, whether seriously or in jest (e.g., based on power differential, gender [sex, identity, expression], sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or national origin, religion, marital status, veteran status, age, body size or other physical appearance, disability, socioeconomic status, or other identities); Do not comment on personal appearance or assumed or known reasons why a person chooses to participate via video, audio, or other means—seriously or in jest; this is the opposite of respectful and welcoming conduct.

-Every participant must respect the privacy of all participants by keeping the identities of all participants and the content of all discussions in the forum in strict confidence. What is said in the network must stay there. No recording or screenshots are permitted.

-Participants agree not to share Zoom links or access instructions.

-Participants agree that whatever is said in a meeting will not be used as information to influence their or their co-workers’ or colleagues’ decision to hire, work with, or otherwise impact their or their co-workers’ or colleagues’ professional relationship with another participant.

-Every participant understands that NASW is a 501c6 non-profit. By participating in the network, forum, discussions, or meetings, participants are agreeing to waive all claims against the officers, board, and facilitators of the group.

May 3, 2021

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