In Focus is a Cronkite News podcast that unearths the stories and voices of young adults across Arizona you haven’t heard before. We’ll bring you a new episode every Friday, right here on this page.
Our first season highlights the health issues young Arizonans face. We’ll hear how a service dog changed the life of a woman in Chino Valley with autism, how an ASU student copes with sleep paralysis and what health reform could mean for young Arizonans trying to access care. Of course, we also want to hear from you. Be sure to let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter.
Episode 1: Service dog helps navigate life with autism: Producer Ben Flores talks with 25-year-old Lynsie Andreasky about living with autism. Lynsie was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when she was 16. Since then, she has faced a lot of challenges, including depression and overwhelming anxiety.
In this episode, Lynsie shares her personal story and how she has overcome challenges thanks to a service dog named Kaycee. We learn how even the smallest dogs can be trained to help reduce anxiety and facilitate social interaction. Share your feedback about the episode here.
Episode 3: Sleep deprivation and the student brain: Getting a goodnight’s rest isn’t always easy, especially when you’re a young adult balancing school, work, clubs and social pressures. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2010, more 60 percent of the 1,125 university students studied reported poor quality sleep. That can have a deep impact on health, learning and job performance. On this episode of In Focus, we explore the consequences of sleep deprivation among young adults. We hear from one college student who had a frightening experience with sleep paralysis he attributes to stress, and we speak with a sleep specialist about how to get better sleep – even during your college years. Share your feedback about the episode here.
Episode 4: Student triathlete swims, bikes and runs his way out of depression: Young adults — especially those ages 18 to 25 — are at a higher risk for depression than people in any other age group. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this episode of In Focus, we explore why mental illness is especially common in young adults and why exercise – in addition to counseling and medication therapy – may help address or even prevent the onset of depression. We hear the story of one student who found relief from depression through triathlon training and talk with experts about the effects of physical exertion on the brain. Share your feedback about the episode here.
Episode 5: Finding ‘hidden resources’ for autism care: Raising a child with autism can be incredibly challenging under the best of circumstances. For families who live in small towns, far from big-city resources, it can be even harder. In this episode of In Focus, we talk with Elizabeth Gullikson, a 30-year-old mother and resident of Yuma. Her four-year-old son, Gavin Cunningham, has autism. Elizabeth and her family try to acquire the best help for Gavin, but it can take some serious digging to excavate the right resources. Share your feedback about the episode here.
Episode 6: What homelessness means for pregnant women and LGBTQ youth: There are nearly 10,000 homeless people in the state of Arizona. In this episode of In Focus, we explore issues that especially affect two populations of homeless young adults: pregnant women and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ten percent of homeless women are pregnant, according to an article published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, and the Williams Institute estimates that 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth come from the LGBT community. We hear from one mother who found herself struggling with an addiction, homeless and pregnant with her fifth child, and why LGBT youth are disproportionately represented in homeless populations. Share your feedback about the episode here.
Episode 8: Thriving without sight in Arizona: Many people lose sight as they grow older, but there are more than 15,000 visually impaired Arizonans between the ages of 18 and 34. In this episode, we hear the stories of two of them. Hiris Vela, 20, and Elijah Harris, 19, are both community college students who grew up legally blind in Arizona. They share what it was like to try to get by in high school and how they learned to thrive without sight. And we wrap up the In Focus season with a roundtable of producers, who share their behind-the-scenes insights from their reporting across the state. Share your feedback about the episode here.