Vice Magazine Probes Palo Alto Teen Suicides

A September issue feature reported by 20-year-old Nikhil Goyal.

In 2012, at age 17, Nikhil Goyal was easily the youngest person featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Education list. This month, Goyal, now 20, has his first piece in Vice magazine.

Goyal traveled to Palo Alto to examine the impact of four 2014-15 school year suicides involving students at Henry M. Gunn and Palo Alto high schools. The age of the writer, and the topic of his article, are a good example of how Vice is appealing to its young audience:

At Gunn, students took the matter of improving mental health into their own hands, organizing the Student Wellness Committee. It organically grew out of their discussions on what needed to change at the school after Cameron Lee’s death.

One of the things they set up was a referral box, which allowed students to anonymously refer their friends to counseling. “A startling number of people have told me that they wouldn’t talk to a counselor if they had a friend who was in trouble,” Gunn sophomore class president Chloe Chang Sorensen explained.

Goyal’s article ends with some good news from Manon Piernot, a Gunn student who – following a pair of 5150-mandated stays at a hospital psychiatric ward during the 2014-15 school year and outpatient therapy – has a new perspective on school pressures. Read the full piece here.

P.S. In the September issue, Vice also officially introduces to readers photo editor Elizabeth Renstrom. Next week, the 25-year-old Rengstrom will be joined by another new co-worker, Erika Allen. The New York Times contributor and co-editor of website slutever.com is joining the magazine as senior editor and will be responsible for curating the front sections.