Community Radio WRFI | 88.1 FM Ithaca, 91.9 FM Watkins Glen

The Loneliness Project

Loneliness has become a big public health concern, particularly among young people. Teen suicide rates doubled from 2007-2015, more people ages 18-22 report feeling lonely than senior citizens, and globally for the first time ever more people die by suicide than are killed by crime, terrorism, and war put together. For young people, this is one of the hardest challenges they're going to face, if not the toughest.

We felt this topic is important for local journalism since Ithaca is a college town. It’s also a perfect subject for a news collaboration. Cornell, IC, and the City of Ithaca each have their own crucial perspective on this issue. Covering this in depth requires multiple news organizations being involved, including college journalists.

"The Loneliness Project" is a multimedia collaboration between WRFI, The Ithaca Voice, The Cornell Daily Sun, and The Ithaca College Park Scholars Program. In a series of long-form online articles, audio pieces, videos, and infographics, we will take a careful look at loneliness and its impact on mental health in Tompkins County. This fall, we will examine increasing reports of loneliness among young people nationally and what students are facing locally. Engaged Cornell and the Sophie Fund are funding this collaboration.

Our project aims to empower young journalists to explore why suicide and loneliness is on the rise and what we can do to stop it. To address both the problem and potential solutions, student and professional journalists will talk to peers and experts, break down stigmas around suicide, loneliness, and mental health, and find better ways to combat this epidemic.

Photo: Flavio Spugna, Flickr