Fiona Bruce reveals BBC newsreaders are given therapy over traumatic stories

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Question Time will no longer have a studio audience from Thursday. (BBC)
Fiona Bruce said there are some traumatic news images she can never unsee. (BBC)

Fiona Bruce has revealed BBC newsreaders receive counselling after being “traumatised” by disturbing stories.

The Question Time presenter said she had not had to use the service herself, but admitted there were some news stories she had reported that were so upsetting they have been “burned into my mind”.

Asked if she’d received help, Bruce, 56, told Radio 4 podcast Fortunately... with Fi Glover and Jane Garvey: “I know colleagues of mine have, and do. Definitely, I know colleagues of mine and people you see on the bulletins who have had counselling which the BBC has provided for them because they have been traumatised through their job.

“I’m only not naming them because it’s their business but in the newsroom they talk about it very openly.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 11:  Darcey Bussell and Fiona Bruce attend day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Fiona Bruce, pictured with Darcey Bussell, admitted some news images have been 'burnt into my mind'. (Getty Images)

Bruce has been a newsreader at the BBC since 1999 and has reported for Crimewatch, Panorama and Newsnight.

She said: “There are definitely some stories that I will never forget because they were just so searingly terrible and the images are just burnt into my mind and I’ll never forget.

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“It might seem slightly arcane, but one I remember in particular was about some devastating floods in Myanmar, and there was a whole family just laid out on the river bank in order of size, from mother down to smallest tot. I’m never going to forget that.

“There was a time with all the bombing that was going on in Syria and everything that was going on there, there were a few days where I thought, ‘I just don’t really want to come in anymore.’ And I’d not felt like that before.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:     Fiona Bruce attends the 12th annual Emeralds & Ivy Ball in aid of Cancer Research UK and The Marie Keating Foundation at The Royal Horticultural Halls on December 15, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Fiona Bruce admits she avoids looking at some news images for her own mental health. (Getty Images)

“I did, and I got over myself. And I’m sure a lot of us felt like that.”

Bruce – who also presents Antiques Roadshow – revealed that she does not look at traumatic images in the news, unless she is going to be reporting on them, to protect her own mental health.

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She said: “After that Burma footage, I made a decision that I wouldn’t look at footage which I knew was going to be terrible unless I knew it was going to be on air and I had to.

“I don’t want to sound too precious or too fragile, but there are some things that you can’t unsee. And generally those things don’t make it to air.”

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