The Benefits Of Listening To A Mental Health Podcast
More than 40 million Americans suffer from a mental illness. So why is it so difficult to talk about it? Whatever the reason, the taboo surrounding mental illness leaves millions of people feeling isolated during the time they most need someone who understands them. Enter the world of mental health podcasts.
While most people shy away from talking about difficult mental health issues, these podcasts tackle these topics head on. They help people in pain feel less alone and shed some of the stigma around their illness.
Here is everything you need to know about mental health podcasts.
What is a Mental Health Podcast?
A mental health podcast is a podcast that focuses on a mental health topic in every episode. It may use expert advice, humor, debate, storytelling, and more to delve into these subjects. A mental health podcast will generally take one or a combination of two approaches.
Self-Help and Self-Discovery
Many podcasters do what they do in order to help other people. They have suffered from mental illness and found ways to manage, and they want to share what they’ve learned. They, therefore, provide self-help talks and discussions with plenty of practical advice.
Others take a different approach, exploring and sharing their own experience, in the hope that others will relate and feel less alone. Just speaking about mental illness takes the stigma down a notch, and it can be a huge relief for those with no one else to turn to.
Of course, many mental health podcasts combine personal experience with self-help. They create a safe space for understanding and support, telling stories and sharing what they have tried.
Who Can Be a Podcaster?
Anyone can be a podcaster. There are no rules dictating who can and cannot share their experiences and thoughts. No matter who you are, if you have something to say, you have the freedom and basic resources to do so. For many, the goal of listening to or creating podcasts is connection.
However, the best podcasters have the added resources necessary to make it part of their careers. They invest time and money into conceptualizing, researching, and recording high quality episodes that can reach millions of people.
The top mental health podcasts are run by people who either have the needed expertise or have access to expert knowledge. They recognize the power of their own honest sharing, but also understand the limits of their knowledge. They, therefore, provide an engaging mix of stories, information, interviews, and advice.
Different Types of Mental Health Podcasts
Mental health podcasts generally aim for similar goals: connection, exploration, and advice. However, they go about achieving these goals from a number of different directions.
Psychology podcasts explore topics in the field of psychology and mental health. They can be educational or entertaining, or both. They can open up discussions about a field that is more commonly spoken about in whispers.
The best psychology podcasts offer a mixture of information, candid discussion, humor, advice, and entertainment. They keep you engaged and make you feel less isolated, as well as providing resources to continue your discovery of the subject afterwards.
Self-help podcasts primarily aim to provide tools that listeners can utilize to improve their lives. This does not mean that the entire episode consists of advice. Self-help is often best dispensed within a context of storytelling and discussion. However, each episode will offer practical self-help that regular or first time listeners will be able to take into their daily lives.
Anxiety podcasts focus on the incredibly common struggle of anxiety. While millions of people suffer from anxiety on a day-to-day basis, individuals who do generally feel like they’re the only ones. They feel like they are weak for feeling anxious, especially when the source of their anxiety is something that seems so unproblematic for everyone else.
Anxiety podcasts relieve this burden for many people. When you hear others describe the source of their own anxieties, you begin to recognize that your feelings are actually very common. You will also realize that they are not due to a personal weakness. Learning this doesn’t necessarily relieve your anxiety, but it helps to diminish the power that the anxiety has held over you. Rather than seeing it as a terrible secret, you will perhaps learn to see it as something that many people live with.
Anxiety podcasts may include practical advice for dealing with anxiety. Different approaches work for different people and good anxiety podcasters understand and acknowledge this.
Couples Therapy Podcast
Every couple experiences difficulties at some point in their relationship. It is only natural considering that no two people think the same way, manage their feelings in the same way, communicate in the same way, or argue in the same way. It is, in fact, incredible when a relationship lasts for many years without serious dysfunction.
Nonetheless, few couples seek help unless they are already in crisis. Rather than actively learning how to communicate better and support each other, they hope to simply figure it out as time passes. Unfortunately, the opposite generally happens.
Couples therapy podcasts help couples to understand why it is so hard sometimes to just get along. They may include actual snippets from couples therapy sessions, or describe the sort of conversations that go on in the therapist’s office. For couples who have not yet gone to therapy, or don’t think there is value in it, a couples therapy podcast can provide important insights.
Usually, these podcasts also make it clear that going to therapy does not mean there is anything fundamentally wrong with your relationship or that your love is not real. Instead, it is a commitment to learning the important insights that no one is born knowing.
Podcasts for Teens
Your teenage years are some of the most vulnerable years of your life. Teenagers who are going through tremendous physical and emotional changes, begin to question just about everything. Life may have made perfect sense until now, but suddenly nothing seems certain. One’s teens can be a formative time and a time for exploring new things, but they can just as easily be colored by mental health issues and isolation.
Unfortunately, society often does not take teenagers seriously. Their problems are disregarded as insignificant next to the problems of adulthood, despite the fact that adults generally have more access to tools with which they can solve their problems.
Podcasts for teens provide a space where teenage issues are taken seriously. They help teenagers understand that their issues are not the results of being childish or overemotional, but rather the product of a confusing time of growth and self-discovery. They help teens recognize signs of mental illness in themselves (and their peers) and they also relieve the sense of isolation that so many teenagers experience.
Mental illness is a serious matter, but that does not mean humor is inappropriate. There are many mental health podcasts that use humor as a tool to make tough subjects easier to speak about. By no longer speaking about mental health issues only in whispers, humor helps deplete some of the stigma and taboo around the subject. It also means you’re more likely to speak about the subject without the heaviness that usually accompanies it.
Mental Health Statistics
Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, you may not realize how widespread it really is. The following statistics should serve to comprehensively dispel this assumption.
- More than 40 million Americans suffer from mental illness
- That is one out of every five adults
- Around one in five teenagers suffer from mental illness
- Only about 40% of those suffering receive professional help
- Mood disorders are the third most common cause for hospitalization in the US
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death
- For people between the ages of 10 and 34, it is the 2nd leading cause of death
Mental Illness Stigma
You may be wondering why, if mental illness is so prevalent, the stigma still exists.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, it is important to keep in mind that the illness itself makes you feel bad about yourself, and ashamed to be honest about it. People suffering with mental illness tend to internalize it and blame themselves for being “weak.”
But the foundation for the stigma comes from society long misunderstanding mental illness. The field of psychology as a science is relatively new and it has existed in something resembling its modern form for just over a century. Unfortunately, not everyone has come as far as the science in this time. It is all too common for people to see mental illness as a moral weakness rather than a type of disease.
The shame, that sufferers therefore feel, stops many of them from admitting to suffering from mental illness which makes it seem like it affects far fewer people.
Mental health podcasts are an important tool in breaking down the stigma, making it clear that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and that those who are suffering are not alone.
5 Podcasts That Talk About Mental Health
Thinking of trying out a mental health podcast? Here are 5 excellent podcasts that talk about mental health.
Mental Illness Happy Hour
Mental Illness Happy Hour, hosted by comedian Paul Gilmartin, is the perfect starting point for anyone affected by mental illness. Gilmartin delves deep into a huge range of mental health topics, without ever forgetting how important humor and levity can be. While he treats every subject with the seriousness it deserves, he makes sure it never becomes overwhelming. Mental Illness Happy Hour is one of the oldest mental health podcasts, and has done a lot to lessen the mental illness stigma.
The Hilarious World of Depression
The Hilarious World of Depression utilizes humor to normalize the subject matter. Depression, when viewed through a certain lens, can be funny; and the laughs make the experiences shared all the more relatable. Hosted by John Moe, The Hilarious World of Depression has featured some incredible guests, including Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, and Jen Kirkman.
Mentally Yours, created by Metro.co.uk, is a British podcast that focuses on mental illness, treatment options, politics, and more. Yvette Caster and Ellen Scott are candid in their discussions; using honesty, empathy, and compassion to help millions of people feel less alone.
The Struggle Bus
The Struggle Bus is an advice podcast hosted by Katharine Heller and Sally Tamarkin. They share their thoughts about a range of topics, and they have a lot of thoughts. While some podcasters shy away from sharing personal opinions, the hosts of The Struggle Bus do not. However, they are always open to changing their minds along the way.
Psych Sessions is hosted by LMHP, Dr Jimmy Morris. He invites experts, in every episode, to talk about a range of mental health subjects in more detail. Psych Sessions is informative and educational, but it is never dull. It’s one of the most popular mental health podcasts out there.
Mental Health Podcast Benefits
There are tremendous benefits when it comes to mental health podcasting, that go far beyond the undertaking of most podcasts to entertain and inform.
Eliminating Social Stigma
As we have mentioned, the social stigma surrounding mental illness exists in spite of its prevalence. By eliminating some of the social stigma, mental health podcasts can raise awareness and help save many lives.
Not everyone is comfortable attending talks on mental illness or going to therapy, as they often tend to worry that they might be seen. The anonymity in simply listening to a podcast makes it an excellent place for the wary to find information and advice.
Good for People Living in Remote Areas
Mental health awareness is far greater in and around cities than in remote areas. The resources available in remote areas aren’t always sufficient for people who are struggling with psychological issues. Mental health podcasts are highly accessible, no matter where you are.
Accessible for People With Physical Limitations
Similarly, people with physical limitations may struggle to either access resources (such as talks) or to go into a therapist’s office. Mental health podcasts provide them with accessible resources.
Convenience and Affordability
Most podcasts are available for free on apps that come installed on most smartphones, whereas courses may cost time and money that you may not have.
Podcasts are Educational Tools
Mental health podcasts are not just engaging and helpful, but they are educational too. They can help to build awareness in communities that are otherwise uncomfortable with the field of psychology. Mental health podcasts also provide informative resources to those in need and even offer additional knowledge to those who are studying to become mental health professionals.
Subscribing To A Mental Health Podcast
Subscribing to a mental health podcast is easy, and it is one of the ways in which technology is increasing access to important resources. There is something for everyone online, so that no one has to feel isolated while suffering from mental illness.
Mental health podcasts are serving an incredibly important purpose these days, from which anyone can benefit.