A Silent Epidemic

A Silent Epidemic

Organisation: NPR / NPR Visuals & NPR Education (United States)

Publication Date: 04/11/2017


Size of team/newsroom:large


An estimated 20 percent of children show signs or symptoms of a mental health problem. It's a destructive force in schools, but most educators don't have the training or resources to help. This illustrated sequential visual story introduces the issue, and a companion radio and online series goes into further depth about problems and possible solutions. Mental health is a major issue in education, but it's not an easy story to tell in visual mediums like the web without slipping into cliche. This story escapes the usual traps by combining data reporting with illustration.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

This project is less innovative and more very well executed. It combines many disparate elements -- illustration, data analysis, data visualization -- in a way that brings the story to life. The primary impact of the story is awareness. Based on social media feedback and analytics, this was a very popular story that is now being used as a resource for those who wish to explain and frame the issues surrounding mental health in schools.

Technologies used for this project:

Publishing: Python / Flask Hosting: Amazon S3 / Cloudfront Data analysis: R, Python Data visualization: Illustrator, AI2HTML
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