Shining a light on mental health and the pandemic
CMU graduate students earn broadcasting award
A dream team in the studio and just like sisters in real life: That's how Central Michigan University graduate students Kasey Davis and Ahsha Davis describe their unbeatable dynamic as a duo.
The pair spent a lot of time in the broadcast studio. Last year, Kasey and Ahsha created their own radio show, "Call a Psychiatrist," which airs on CMU's student-run radio station, WMHW-FM. The show sheds light on mental health and features CMU Health's Dr. James Hillard.
The show gained a large following at CMU and recently took first place in the pandemic production category at the Michigan Student Broadcast Awards.
Though not related, Kasey and Ahsha both hail from Detroit and have known each other since age 14. As undergraduates at CMU, they studied broadcast and cinematic arts and continued their graduate studies at the university in electronic media management.
The first episode of "Call a Psychiatrist" aired in January 2020, and the program continued to air throughout the year despite challenges caused by the pandemic.
The award-winning episode aired March 26, 2020, and covered the topic of mental illness and how COVID-19 can have an effect on it.
Ahsha entered the episode in the awards, and to their excitement and surprise the episode took first place in the category. The duo felt it was a tremendous accomplishment, as it was the first episode during the pandemic. They faced social distancing and technology challenges trying to record and edit their show.
"I'm still in amazement," said Kasey. "Hard work pays off, and this is more motivation to continue forward."
It's not about the award, it's about the impact
To Kasey and Ahsha, being recognized for their hard work and creative energy is rewarding, but they know the work has to continue. The duo wants students to talk about mental illness with no constraints. Opening the floor for conversation about mental health is what matters the most to them.
"Our show is brave," Ahsha said. "People really care about what we have to say about mental illness."
The support students have shown the program pushed Kasey and Ahsha to work harder to spread mental health awareness.
In addition to spreading awareness, the duo has loved working together. Their care for each other and a shared passion for helping others are what brought the show to life.
"Kasey offers her vulnerability, so the audience relates to her, and she is intentional in asking Dr. Hillard tough questions," Ahsha said. "I appreciate that about her."
The duo is quick to thank those who help make the show successful. Along with Hillard, staff from the CMU Counseling Center provide resources and a professional opinion.
The show will air next year with new students taking over the conversations and fighting the stigma against mental illness.
This story was written by University Communications intern Caroline Kramer.