Addiction. Depression. Stigma. These are words people commonly associate with mental health. We each have our own thoughts about what it means to have a mental disorder or illness. And though studies show increases in both mental health diagnoses and demand for mental health services, it remains a scarcely discussed topic.
“Matters of the Mind” is a multimedia project conceived, produced and edited by journalism students enrolled in the “Writing and Editing for Convergent Media” class at American University in Washington, D.C.
In collaboration with NBC Washington, we sought to raise awareness about the mental health trends and issues that currently affect millennials between the ages of 18 and 33.
This project is the culmination of a semester-long effort. Our team of 18 students, led by journalism professor Amy Eisman, researched topics, pitched content ideas, and reported stories using a variety of media.
When we started researching mental health back in January, we had a lot of questions, but very few answers. By the end of the semester we learned much more than we expected. Through our research and reporting, we learned that many prefer to vent through online forums rather than seek professional counseling. And we learned that millennials are much more open about their mental health concerns, allowing health care professionals to better understand and address key issues.
Students were assigned specific roles for the project that ranged from photo editor to deputy web chief. Each student, in addition to producing his or her own story, helped with web design, editing, social media and survey distribution.
The result is a comprehensive website that provides fair, nuanced coverage of a complicated topic. Our team had two principal goals when approaching this project: 1) To identify the factors that contribute to mental health trends among millennials, and 2) To share personal stories from people who have confronted mental health struggles head-on.
There is no single story when it comes to mental health — it is something that affects everyone. We hope you walk away from this site with a better understanding of the issues and a desire to learn more.
Managing Editor/ Matters of the Mind
Prof. Amy Eisman
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