Darian Benson

Reporter, Side Effects Public Media

Darian Benson is a reporter based at WFYI in Indianapolis. An Indy native, she is eager to report on public health in her hometown. Darian graduated with a journalism degree from Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis. Previously, she covered city government and public policy for WFYI and statewide public health for Indiana Public Broadcasting. 

Ways to Connect

PHOTO BY ENGIN AKYURT ON UNSPLASH

At Riley Hospital for Children there's been a jump in emergency room visits related to mental health and suicide. From March to December, these visits increased 61 percent compared to the same months in 2019.

Hilary Blake, a psychologist at the Indianapolis hospital, says there is a mental health crisis in Indiana.

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On Dec. 4, Dr. Susan Moore posted a video from her hospital bed in the Indianapolis area. Short of breath and with an oxygen tube in her nose, she said that she was denied proper care while being treated for COVID-19.

Less than three weeks later, she died from the virus. 


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Megan Miedema is a mother of two in Chicago. In October, she started to feel back pain but was hesitant to go to the doctor. She worried about getting COVID-19 and bringing it back home. 

The new  COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the country — a process that will take months. But there were hopeful signs Wednesday at an Indianapolis hospital where some of the first shots were given.

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For many mothers giving  birth during the pandemic, pregnancy has not gone as planned. To learn about these experiences, a pair of researchers is collecting pandemic birth stories from across the country. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The continued stress from COVID-19 has heightened mental health problems nationwide. And some experts say that has led to an increase in drug overdoses.

Courtesy of Maria Duenas Lopez

Last of a four-part series. As we conclude our series on young activists, we meet Maria Duenas Lopez, a first generation Mexican-American who advocates for immigrants. Side Effects Public Media’s Darian Benson interviewed her about the importance of an inclusive democracy.  

Courtesy of Tyshara Loynes

Part 3 in a series. As we continue our series on young activists, we meet Tyshara Loynes, a college student working to protect a street with historic significance for Indianapolis' Black community. Side Effects Public Media’s Darian Benson interviewed her as part of an audio diary project for America Amplified. 

Courtesy of Dyna Martinez

Part 2 in a series. Our series on young people driving community change continues with Dyna Martinez, an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis student who was deeply influenced by her childhood in Honduras. Side Effects Public Media’s Darian Benson interviewed her as part of an audio diary project for America Amplified reporting initiative. 

Courtesy of Taylor Hall

Part 1 in a series. Voting is a big issue as we get closer to Election Day. But that isn’t the only way people are making their voices heard this year. Over the past few months, Side Effects Public Media’s Darian Benson has followed four young activists as part of an audio diary project for America Amplified reporting initiative. One of them is Taylor Hall, a 20-year-old who helped organize one of the summer’s largest protests in Indianapolis. 

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Dani Hoover is a 26-year-old social worker in Indianapolis. She has battled depression and anxiety since high school, and the pandemic hasn’t made it any easier.

Evictions Damage Public Health. The CDC Aims To Curb Them ― For Now

Sep 29, 2020

In August, Robert Pettigrew was working a series of odd jobs. While washing the windows of a cellphone store he saw a sign, one that he believes the "good Lord" placed there for him.

"Facing eviction?" the sign read. "You could be eligible for up to $3,000 in rent assistance. Apply today."

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When the COVID shutdown hit, lots of people lost jobs and couldn’t pay their rent. States and cities responded by putting a moratorium on evictions, but those are ending. Housing advocates are now bracing for a flood of evictions — and a public health problem.

States continue to reopen, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, according to experts on Indiana Public Broadcasting’s All IN talk show. The experts discussed the current state of the pandemic and how state officials have responded — as well as the need for more data.

Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media

Dr. Blessing Ogbemudia graduated from Indiana University’s medical school in May. As he was celebrating with a few friends, he received an anonymous message on Instagram. It contained an audio clip of someone talking about him. 

courtesy of Kelly Harper Berkson

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Side Effects is answering questions from our audience about the virus. To reach a larger audience, we’ve translated some of this material into Spanish. And now, we're partnering with Indiana University linguistics professor Kelly Harper Berkson and the Chin Languages Research Project to provide information to the Burmese-American community. 

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Systemic racism has a big impact on the health of black Americans. They are more likely to have health conditions like diabetes or hypertension- and more likely to die from them. Racism in medicine takes many forms, and one is a foundation of mistrust and misunderstanding.

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Demonstrations are flaring up across the country to protest the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. They’re also calling attention to broader inequalities. One of those areas—health disparities—kills Black Americans in massive numbers.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The COVID-19 crisis disrupted life for everyone. But it's a unique challenge for those battling addiction. In-person meetings are often an essential part of the recovery process. Those in the recovery community are finding new ways to meet those needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Justin Hicks/Indiana Public Broadcasting

We're continuing to answer questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19, and the latest batch showed that there's still a lot of confusion about testing. Who needs it, how is it done, where is it done—and more. 

Darian Benson, Side Effects Public Media

African-Americans across the country are dying from the new coronavirus at a much higher rate than whites. Experts have a lot of explanations, but they also say more data is needed. In Indianapolis, a new no-cost testing program hopes to increase COVID-19 testing in African-American communities.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana officials reported the state’s first presumed case of illness from the new coronavirus on Friday and then a second case on Saturday. Illinois has confirmed seven cases of COVID-19.