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Answering your questions about solar power, youth mental health, Wildlife Thursday: iconic fauna

Alligator_RussellSatterthwaite.jpeg
Courtesy Russell Satterthwaite
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Following up on last week’s solar panel conversation, we continue answering your questions about solar. Plus, federal research shows 1 in 5 young people below 18 years old is struggling with their mental health. And some of Florida’s most iconic wildlife, like alligators and manatees, are welcoming travelers at the airport in Fort Lauderdale in a photo exhibit.

On this Thursday, July 7, edition of Sundial:

Answering your questions about solar power

Last week, we tried to answer your questions about solar panels. We learned about co-ops and how people can work together to find good deals on installations.

WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Our journalists are continuing to work hard to keep you informed across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.

There are still a lot of questions about cost and quality and the current challenges of getting solar panels, supply chain issues, and a U.S. investigation into solar products coming from China.

David Lewin, a retiree in Broward County, joined Sundial to discuss his experience of moving toward solar energy.

Miami Herald environment reporter Alex Harris also joined Sundial to answer more listener questions about this type of energy.

Answering your questions about solar power
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Youth mental health 

Everyone is affected by their mental health, good or bad. If you haven't experienced challenges, someone you know has.

A new national public television documentary, called Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness shows young people who battle mental health issues as they openly share their stories.

The project, with help from Executive Producer Ken Burns, includes insights from families, mental health providers, school advocates, and people sharing how childhood trauma, stigma, and social media have each affected their struggles.

Justin Volpe joined Sundial Thursday to talk about his story of recovering from addiction here in Miami. He is featured in the project.

"Unfortunately, you know, there's so much stigma around mental health that I think especially young adolescents are easier to give in to peer pressure and to pick up a substance that their friends are using than, to say that, you know, you're 'crazy' and you have to take this medication," Volpe said. "That feeling that I was chasing, of trying to get better, I found through other avenues and paths without those substances. And I'm happy to be celebrating 10 years of sobriety next month."

Now, Volpe is a certified recovery peer specialist for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

"I didn't realize that there might have been an underlying mental health issue. I had zero insight. I knew that things were out of control and I was used to that. And I thought that's just how life went. I think people get used to the unmanageability and the chaos and it becomes a part of their life," he said. "And when that is a normal reality, it's hard to judge how you're doing and what's well or what's not well."

The documentary shares young people dealing with suicidal thoughts and ideations. If you or anyone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support: 1-800-273-8255.

Starting on July 16, everyone across the United States will be able to get routed to that National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by simply dialing a three-digit code: 988.

The documentary is a central part of Well Beings, a multi-year, multi-platform health campaign including other feature-length documentaries, short-form original digital content and more.

"That's something that this country needs, is more conversations on these things and more healing," he said.

Youth mental health
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Wildlife Thursday: Iconic fauna

When you think of Florida, what are some of the images that come to mind?

Palm trees, the ocean, the Everglades. How about alligators, manatees and crabs?

For this Wildlife Thursday, we’re talking about a new photo exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport.

It’s showcasing some of these iconic Florida images — serving as a welcome and farewell to travelers from all over the world.

The local photographer behind the work, Russell Satterthwaite, joined Sundial to discuss his experience with wildlife photography.

Wildlife Thursday: iconic fauna
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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, produces WLRN's midday public affairs program, Sundial weekdays at 1 and 8 p.m. Prior to transitioning to production, Caitie covered news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.