PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs debuts New Mental Health Podcast ‘On Our Minds’ with Noah and Zion

Arlington, Va.–– From the PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL) team, On Our Minds with Noah and Zion will premiere  on Friday, May 28. The podcast about youth mental health for teens, by teens, is in partnership with WETA’s Well Beings, a multi-year mental health public awareness campaign that works with local PBS stations across the country to deliver local programming.

Hosted by 16 year-old high school sophomores Noah Konevitch of Lebanon, Pa. and Zion Williams of Clinton Township, Mich., On Our Minds with Noah and Zion will consist of five episodes that tackle some of the biggest mental health challenges young people face.

“Radio and podcasting have always been a passion of mine,” says Noah, recalling why he applied to be a host. “As someone who personally struggles with mental health, I am interested in the mental health experiences of millions of teens, adolescents, and more specifically the LGBTQIA+ community I identify with.”

“I feel that in our society we don’t talk about how we’re truly feeling,” Zion shares. “One way to improve our mental health is by talking about it, especially for teenagers. I want to provide advice to teenagers about mental health and show them that it’s okay to feel the way they do.” 

Each episode features stories highlighting themes such as social isolation, anxiety, depression, and the impact of racism, and include solutions-oriented conversations with experts. The outcome will be a wellspring of authentic stories about the teenage experience, which will connect, educate, and inspire listeners of all ages.

“The podcast medium is unique and has enabled students across our network to use it to genuinely grapple with their feelings and experiences, without the fear of a camera,” says Briget Ganske, SRL’s Youth Media Producer who led SRL’s first-ever podcast. “And for listeners, it’s an intimate experience. You can press play, get settled or take a walkand just listen.”

Building on SRL’s success in covering mental health topics, the podcast was produced using stories that students pitched through a mental health podcast curriculum for Mental Health Awareness Month.

“Mental health has been top of mind for teens over the last decade – whenever we’ve heard from our youth advisors or shared our curriculum with educators and schools across the country,” says Leah Clapman, SRL founder and managing editor of education for the PBS NewsHour. “Then the pandemic pushed mental health challenges to a whole new level and we have an opportunity to create content for and with young people, whose voices are often missing from traditional media.”

Since 2009, SRL has supported students in telling stories about their communities and about the issues that have impacted them. Almost 12 years later, most U.S. teens reported seeing anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019.

To learn more and to share this podcast with students, share the trailer and stay tuned for the expected launch date of May 28.

About PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

Now in over 160 middle and high schools, Student Reporting Labs (SRL) is a national youth journalism program and public media initiative that trains teenagers across the country to produce stories that highlight the achievements, challenges, and reality of today’s youth. SRL creates transformative educational experiences through video journalism that inspire students to find their voice and engage in their communities. Since 2009, SRL youth media producers have helped students place over 100 video news reports on PBS NewsHour’s nightly broadcast and more on local media outlets. Visit www.studentreportinglabs.org to learn more.

About PBS NewsHour

For more than 40 years, millions of Americans and citizens of the world have turned to the PBS NewsHour for the solid, reliable reporting that has made it one of the most trusted news programs on television. PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, DC, in association with WNET in New York. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at www.pbs.org/newshour. On social media, visit PBS NewsHour on Facebook or follow NewsHour on Twitter

About Well Beings

The Well Beings campaign addresses the critical health needs of Americans through broadcast content, original digital content, and impactful local events. The multi-year campaign, created by WETA Washington, D.C., brings together partners from across the country, including patients, families, caregivers, teachers, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors, to create awareness and resources for better health for all. For more information, visit https://wellbeings.org

About WETA

Founded in 1961, the Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA) is the leading public broadcasting station in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational, cultural, news and public affairs programs and services. WETA hosts the production of the PBS NewsHour, a classical music radio station, and programming that focuses on the United Kingdom. Learn more at https://weta.org