"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Letter from the Editor: Nine student papers report solutions for mental health

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When Emmy Martin, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Tar Heel, gave me a call last summer to explain this issue you’re holding in your hand, I knew it was a project to which the Old Gold & Black would be proud to contribute. 

In this issue, you’ll find stories reported by eight North Carolina universities entirely focused on mental health. What makes these stories special is that they aim to take a solution journalism lens. Solutions journalism is a type of storytelling that investigates and explains how people and institutions solve problems. The goal of solutions journalism is not to celebrate or advocate but rather to report evidence. Solutions, many times, are just as newsworthy as the problems that necessitate them. Mental health is an issue that has plagued our generation. These eight student newspapers decided it was time to say something about it. 

When the most senior members of our staff arrived on campus in 2020, social distancing and quarantine policies kept us safe but also destroyed morale. With nowhere on campus to gather, students were stranded in their dorm rooms as excessive amounts of screen time poisoned their self-esteem and exacerbated their loneliness. The subsequent classes that became Demon Deacons entered the university after their high school education was upended by remote learning.    

Since then, mental health has not only been an important topic of our paper’s coverage but also an issue dear to the hearts of our staff members. As student journalists covering the triumphs and challenges of our peers, we witness first hand the rising levels of anxiety and depression. We also experience it ourselves. 

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“Not just at Wake Forest, but overall, [mental health] is worse,” Dr. Tammy Cashwell, professor of counseling and a licensed clinical mental health counselor told the Old Gold & Black. “The level of fear and anxiety is through the roof. Not even around academics, just around getting out of bed and navigating the world.” 

Poor mental health is not a new issue for college students, but its effects have been urgently felt. 

Last year, N.C. State lost seven students to suicide. From 2016 to 2020, there were 878 deaths by suicide in North Carolina of people ages 15-24. A national survey conducted by the American College Health Association found that 52% of undergraduate students regularly experienced moderate psychological distress. 

As you flip through the issue, you’ll find eight different student newspapers who contributed stories to this special edition. We hope you enjoy reading the Old Gold & Black’s reporting but also reporting from all across the state. The Old Gold & Black would like to thank the Daily Tar Heel, who tirelessly organized this project through a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network

Please also note the list of mental health resources available here at Wake Forest on page three. The Old Gold & Black urges you all to take care of yourself and check on those around you. Life is too valuable to neglect your mental health. 

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About the Contributor
Christa Dutton
Christa Dutton, Editor-in-Chief
Christa is a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, majoring English and minoring in journalism and communication. She spends her free time reading, running while listening to podcasts, watching "Survivor" and grabbing coffee with her friends.

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