In Spring 2020, while working on an internship with UNTOLD, a student at Middle Tennessee State University presented “The Campus Diaries” as a division of the UNTOLD project as a mental health awareness campaign within a campus community and designed for the purpose of resonating with any student who has faced a challenge, crisis, or difficult patch through the college years.  The result?  Even with the challenges of COVID-19 and the national campus shut-down, students began submitting their powerful and moving stories of their mental health challenges adjusting to campus life as well as posting their celebrations, achievements and opportunities for their future.  The powerful online blog also showcases the need for more mental health awareness on university campuses.

The UNTOLD: The Campus Diaries, partners with educational campuses to capture the dramatic impact of a student’s voice.  Like the other facets of the entire UNTOLD Project, that voice is heard through the art of both conversation and written word and allows for unspoken and silent topics to be given a safe place free of judgment to talk about their experiences in hopes of helping other students. The project provides opportunities to allow students not only to be heard, but to inspire hope, educate, and create a space for compassion and change, while simultaneously raising awareness of the mental health issues within the campus community.

The Campus Diaries offers three (4) verticals carefully designed to create effective avenues of expression for the issues facing college campuses today – an online blog,  a documentary, podcast and exhibit.  While we are in the early stages, we are currently partnering with campuses across the US and abroad to bring to the forefront a conversation about mental health awareness on campus.

While each of the Campus Diaries verticals are broken down on the following pages, please feel free to reach out to us at for more information.


The Campus Diaries Blog

UNTOLD:  The Campus Diaries – Behind the Smile began in Spring of 2020 when MTSU students were asked to submit “diary entries” anonymously through the Campus Diaries web portal available via the UNTOLD Project website for students around the world to read and share.

The goal was for students to feel less isolated as they participate in the catharsis of writing. The digital platform allows a safe space for students to unload life’s burdens without burdening others.   These Diary entries were created for all students who have ever faced a challenge, crisis, or difficult patch on life’s journey through the college years.

Why A Diary? Diaries have always been considered a safe outlet to write down how someone feels, their experiences, or even their thoughts. Creating a diary submission allows the students to express how they feel, and students get to also see that they are not alone. This online portal creates a visual documentary noting how each day students and faculty members walk among the campus halls hiding behind their smiles.  It also showcases the importance of being aware that someone could be going through something even though it may not appear that way on the outside.


The Campus Exhibit

Finally, (when applicable) UNTOLD:  The Campus Diaries – creates a story/photo exhibit created for a one-day, on-campus awareness campaign.  Found on this exhibit are essay pages from the web portal entitled “Dear Diary”.


The Film

In addition to the exhibit and under the direction of Creators Karen Shayne and Lorna Dancey, UNTOLD creates a documentary for willing students to share their personal stories of college transition, overcoming their fears, anxieties or other issues they perceived as challenging.   These stories, complementary to the exhibit, are conversations that note the overall importance of mental health awareness on campus.   The episodic documentary showcases the stories, students as well as the importance of the exhibit and the mission behind the diaries project.


The “Dear Diary” Podcast

UNTOLD: The Campus Diaries also features a Campus Diaries Podcast sharing the powerful stories behind the exhibit.  This podcast features additional interviews of the students and will share in more detail their stories as well as creating a healthy discussion focusing on the issues and how the public, as well as a campus community, can be more aware of the mental health issues plaguing the college campuses. Recorded in tandem with the exhibit, the UNTOLD podcast will be hosted on a podcast platform (Apple, Stitcher, Audible, etc…)



Karen Shayne / or
Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES Associate Director for Community Programs; MTSU Center for Health and Human Services /