As part of an ongoing collaborative effort, The Chatham News + Record and Our Chatham have produced “The Age of Anxiety,” a 10-part podcast series focusing on teen mental health in Chatham County. Produced by CN+R’s Zachary Horner and Our Chatham’s Adrianne Cleven, the episodes serve as the first season of “The Chatcast,” an ongoing podcast designed to cover important topics in Chatham County. “The Age of Anxiety” is currently available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn and Stitcher, and more information can be found at chathamnewsrecord.com/chatcast.
One in nine.
That’s how many Chatham County high schoolers have self-reported that they’ve attempted suicide. That’s how many Chatham adolescents say they’ve tried to end their own life.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Chatham and American youth, and those numbers have just gone up in recent years.
So teen mental health seemed to be a natural fit for the first season of “The Chatcast,” the new podcast series from the Chatham News + Record and Our Chatham, a project at the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Reese News Lab in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one-third of Chatham high schoolers said they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for more than two weeks in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities. This was within the year prior to the survey being conducted. This lack of engagement in activity is one of the primary symptoms of depression. Additionally, nearly 1 in 5 said they had seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 9 said they had actually attempted suicide in the previous 12 months.
For most of the people interviewed for “The Age of Anxiety,” the title for season one, adolescent depression and anxiety is on the rise and even higher than at any other time in recent memory.
You can listen to all ten episodes of the first season of The Chatcast, plus two bonus episodes, below.