The Dispatches from Within header
Dispatches from Within is a WFDD radio program sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Dispatches from Within

A Radio 101 Series

Proudly sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors

Mental health challenges can be difficult to define and diagnose. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three high school students reported experiencing persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. By 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics had listed suicide as the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 24. When the pandemic forced us to isolate, these feelings of anxiety and depression got even worse. We asked students to share with us ways in which the pandemic had affected them. These are some of the responses:

"I came to NC my freshman year. I didn't know anyone, and I still don't. I don't have any friends who I hand out with outside of school. Missing a year and a half worth of school really made me feel more hopeless and lonely." -18-year-old student

"I feel so on guard all the time and there's overwhelming anxiety stressing about getting covid. Like when I first got a job it was retail and I put hand sanitizer on literally every 2 minutes. I can't handle the guilt I'd feel if I got my family sick." -17-year-old student

"I felt isolated a lot and I looked in the wrong places for attention and love. I sent nudes to people which in turn worsened my mental health which drove me to self harm. I couldn't see my friends and a lot of people left me during the pandemic because they were able to clearly see a life without me which worsened my feelings of isolation." -15-year-old student

"Before covid, school was literally everything to me. If I got a low-ish grade, I would literally do anything in my power to change it. When covid struck, and I wasn't doing well in remote learning, I started to break down. I didn't feel good enough. My parent's expectations at the time didn't help either, so I felt like a failure. I started to not take care of myself (didn't take showers, didn't eat, drink). I thought I deserved pain. Seeing my family members suffer during this didn't help either." -14-year-old student

At the beginning of the school year, the Radio 101 class at R.J. Reynolds high school was tasked to look into the issue of teen mental health. Through research, interviewing local and national experts in the subject, and surveying over 1,600 students in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district, Dispatches from Within was born. This series of stories looks into some of the biggest issues affecting teens’ mental health nowadays: lack of equitable access to resources, perceived pressures from society, school shootings, self-worth, and substance use to just name a few. The series is also accompanied by artwork inspired by these themes from local high school students.

The Student Reporters

Dispatches student reporter - Na'Kella Jennings

Na'kella Jennings

Dispatches student reporter Kenya Cropps

Kenya Cropps

Dispatches student reporter Kewonn McCrimmon

Kewonn McCrimmon

Dispatches student reporter Sophie Welch

Sophie Welch

Dispatches student reporter Christian Morrison

Christian Morrison

Dispatches student reporter Sarah Bettis

Sarah Bettis

Dispatches student reporter Sarah R Cox

Sarah Rhoades Cox

Dispatches student reporter Kaeleigh Brenner

Kaeleigh Brenner

Dispatches student reporter Addison Ashby

Addison Ashby

Dispatches student reporter Elizabeth Seal

Elizabeth Seal

Dispatches student reporter Shaelyn Sebastian

Shaelyn Sebastian

Dispatches student reporter Phillip McCallister

Phillip McCallister

Dispatches student reporter Thomas Hunter

Thomas Hunter

Dispatches student reporter Janay Brokenburough

Janay Brokenburough

Dispatches student reporter Watson Carter

Watson Carter

Dispatches student reporter Chloe Patterson

Chloe Patterson

Dispatches student reporter Chase Orie

Chase Orie

Dispatches student reporter Melvin Abuaku

Melvin Abuaku

Dispatches student reporter Bailey Wickline

Bailey Wickline