Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

James Keating


Throughout my childhood and secondary education growing up in rural Indiana, I found that, in a town of less than 2,000 people, mental illness and teenage suicide were all too common. Upon researching the sad state of mental healthcare in rural America, I felt obliged to bring light in my Honors thesis to the overlooked and under-treated thoughts that plague the minds of adolescents experiencing depression, anxiety, and suicidal contemplation. In this fiction novella, I follow the life of Lincoln Phillips, a 14-year-old boy who lives with anxiety in an unchanging, inescapable town that stigmatizes mental illness. He experiences the suicide of his best friend that was hardly noticed, parents that discount his feelings and thoughts, and anxiety attacks that leave him feeling hollow. Lincoln, towards the end of the novella, encounters a girl by the name of Charlotte that eventually leads him to treatment by a mental health professional outside of the town of Wiltsky. By interviewing mental health professionals and students of many backgrounds and ages, analyzing the statistics surrounding mental health and illness in Indiana and rural America, and reviewing various articles and studies, I attempted to paint a realistic picture of rural American towns, mental illnesses, and teenage desires and fears.

Included in

Fiction Commons