Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst gave a candid account of his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder after spending the last year in a war zone while covering the invasion of Ukraine.
Yingst described conditions in Ukraine following Russia’s brutal invasion as “hell on earth” in a brutally honest op-ed published by USA Today on Sunday. The 29-year-old correspondent said the carnage he has witnessed “still haunts” him.
“The past year, while covering the war in Ukraine, I have reported under incoming fire, seen lifeless bodies strewn across landscapes and experienced complex grief that I still process today,” Yingst said. “I know firsthand the rush of adrenaline that clouds your ability to process emotions.”
“War changes you as a person. I’ve reported around the world, but the invasion of Ukraine has been especially difficult to bear witness to,” he added.
Yingst has reported from Ukraine since before the Russian army invaded on President Vladimir Putin’s orders on Feb. 24, 2022. The Fox News staffer said his decision to remain on the ground as the invasion began has “carried a cost.”
“I decided I would stay, even when most of our crew pulled out,” Yingst said. “It wasn’t a question for me. I don’t regret my choice, but the decision has altered my life and mind forever.”
“We feel OK, until we don’t. For many, post-traumatic stress disorder is not a cut or wound that stings immediately, but rather a dull scar that remains dormant until a sound, a dream or a smell brings memories rushing back in a way that makes it hard to distinguish reality from imagination,” he added.
Yingst urged people struggling with PTSD and other forms of trauma to seek out help in the form of mental health counseling or other resources. He noted that his employer, Fox News Media, offers “free counseling sessions” among other tools to aid those in need.
“You can be a tough, war-hardened correspondent who goes to therapy and knows how to communicate emotions. These things are not mutually exclusive,” he added.
In a separate Twitter post, Yingst said he was “speaking out for the first time” about his experiences.
“I hope to set an example in the industry about the importance of maintaining your mental health,” he tweeted.
Other prominent journalists praised Yingst for speaking out on his experiences in Ukraine.
“Good and important read from my friend @TreyYingst,” “CNN This Morning” anchor Kaitlin Collins wrote alongside a link to Yingst’s article.
Important read from @TreyYingst on covering wars like Ukraine & importance of mental health resources for journalists,” added CBS News political director Fin Gomez.
“An incredible, heat wrenching essay from my friend @TreyYingst about the emotional and physical toll covering a war has on a reporter. An important piece of journalism,” said Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean.
Yingst’s colleague, Benjamin Hall, lost a limb and sight in one eye after he was caught in an attack while reporting on the invasion last year. Two other colleagues were killed in the attack.
Hall returned to TV in January to provide an account of his recovery.
“I think it’s really important when you’re feeling low … to know there’s good on the other side,” Hall said at the time. “If you work hard, if you dedicate yourself to getting somewhere and you don’t stop trying to achieve that, you will get there.”
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