In the second of our articles about podcasts for Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to offer a longer list of recommendations for podcasts about mental health. But as I began writing the article, I became a bit overwhelmed by how many there are! It’s fantastic to see that mental health and wellbeing podcasts are becoming more mainstream.
For general mental health conversations, I definitely encourage you to go and listen to amazing shows like Happy Place, Griefcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking and of course Scroobius Pip’s mental health specials.
There are however far fewer podcasts focused on mental illness, which is slightly different to mental health. We all have mental health on a spectrum of ‘good’ to ‘bad’. But around 1 in 4 of us will also have a clinical mental illness at some point in our life.
So for this article, I want to highlight 6 great podcast episodes about specific mental illness diagnoses.
Content Warning: these podcasts talk about the real experiences of living with mental illnesses. Content includes addiction, post-partum psychosis, depression, hearing voices, bipolar disorder and living in a secure psychiatric hospital.
OLOGIES WITH ALIE WARD
Addictionology (ADDICTION) with Erin Parisi
In the Ologies podcast, science communicator Alie Ward talks to different scientists (or ‘ologists’) about their field of expertise. Whilst many episodes are whimsical (Pumpkins! Jellyfish!) others are more serious. I wasn’t expecting this episode about addiction, but it has been one of the most useful. It covers both substance and behavioural addiction in a non-judgemental way. Knowing someone with an addiction myself, it was a real insight into the behaviours and interventions. LISTEN NOW >>
Six Feet Under
Mad Chat is one of those genius podcasts that was sadly short-lived. Host, Sandy Allen, invites a guest to discuss a piece of pop culture through the lens of their lived experience of mental illness. You quickly find out how wrong media’s portrayal of ‘madness’ is. The show discussed classics such as Dawson’s Creek, BoJack Horseman, Killing Eve and Donnie Darko. In this episode, they unpack the TV show Six Feet Under in context of Hearing Voices activism. LISTEN NOW >>
ON THE WARD
S1:Ep5 | On the Ward: Your questions answered
Created by St Andrew’s Healthcare, this podcast is hosted by staff nurse John-Barry Waldron, who has worked there for 15 years, ‘On the Ward’ challenges some of the myths and taboos around complex mental illness in the UK today, as it explores what really happens behind the walls of a secure psychiatric hospital. This episode is a good point of entry, as it answers some common listener questions – which cover everything from electric shock therapy, to the routine of the hospital. LISTEN NOW >>
THE HILARIOUS WORLD OF DEPRESSION
Movies That Get Depression Right
“A show about clinical depression…with laughs?” Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, and yet it is still often stigmatised by society. The Hilarious World of Depression tackles it with laughs. Hosted by comedian John Moe, he talks to other comedians who have lived with depression. Unsurprisingly, putting multiple comics on a podcast makes anything funny! This episode is the opposite of Mad Chat, and looks at the films that give an accurate portrayal of depression. LISTEN NOW >>
Catherine Cho | ‘I’d better act sane’
For illustrator and writer Laura Dockrill, becoming a mum was life-changing in a very unexpected way. After a traumatic delivery Laura was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. It’s a serious mental illness that affects around 1 in 500 women, yet people rarely talk about it. In Zombiemum, Laura talks to other parents about aspects of motherhood that aren’t discussed enough. In this episode, she speaks to writer and literary agent Catherine Cho. They discuss their shared experience of postpartum psychosis, the cultural and familial pressures she faced when having a child, and the ways she explored this through writing her memoir ‘Inferno’. LISTEN NOW >>
Anxiety and panic attacks – Gus’s Story
MIND is one of the most prominent mental health charities in the UK and is a great resource for information, support and help. Their website has resources on a wide range of mental health problems… Their podcast is much harder to find! But it’s worth it to listen to the first-hand accounts of what it feels like to live with specific mental health problems. There are nine episodes in total, covering a range of topics such as OCD, crisis, bipolar, psychosis and more. This episode about anxiety and panic attacks is a good insight into a disorder that is extremely common and misunderstood. LISTEN NOW >>