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July 20, 2021

Daily News Lesson: ‘On Our Minds’ student podcast on depression and mental health


Directions: Read the summary, listen through the podcast episode and answer the discussion questions below. The episode can be found on the Student Reporting Labs site here. To read the transcript of the episode, click here.

Summary: On this episode of “On Our Minds,” a podcast made by teenagers for teenagers on mental health, Noah and Zion discuss the body’s reaction to depression and the relationship between physical and mental illness. 

  • Maddy, a high schooler with POTS, recounts her story from receiving her diagnosis of depression, OCD, and anxiety, and slowly getting better through therapy. 
  • Dr. Aguilar, founding director and lead therapist at Hope Center for Wellness in Washington, D.C, discusses going through the loss of loved ones to suicide and dealing with suicidal thoughts, taking steps to recognize signs of depression and reaching out for help. Later in the podcast, they discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal changes on people’s mental health. 

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is susceptible to depression? 
  • What is depression?
  • Why is talking about suicide actually more helpful to those who are struggling, than avoiding the subject?
  • When in the year is Zion happiest? What about Noah?
  • Where can those who need help, find help?
  • How can making oneself busier act as a coping mechanism for depression?

Focus questions: 

  1. Dr. Aguilar says that it’s important to have people we trust, whom we can go to with our thoughts without fear of judgement. What role does others’ perception play in mental health struggles? What are some ways to fight the stigma surrounding depression?
  2. Much of the stigma surrounding depression and other mental health disorders stems from the discomfort of talking about them. What other social issues can you think of that are similarly stigmatized due to an unwillingness for open discussion? 
  3. Who is a trusted adult you could talk to if you are feeling anxious or stressed?

Media literacy: This Daily News Lesson is about a podcast. How does it differ from a video lesson? What special experiences does a podcast offer that a video doesn’t? What about the other way around?

Additional resources:

  • Check out the rest of the podcast series “On Our Minds” by Student Reporting Labs here.
  • Here is a list of mental health resources put together by Student Reporting Labs.

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Jacqueline Kim and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Kim is a junior at Amherst College.

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