Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 takes place between 10th-16th May, and we’re bringing you some great podcasts about mental health, and mental illness. First up, we have this reminder from the magazine archive. Each issue, Jason Reed recommends a podcast from the charity and causes sector in his Good Samaritan column. His choice from Issue #006 was Mentally Yours, a podcast from Metro journalists Yvette Caster and Ellen Scott.
Mental health is an issue that we’re all beginning to talk more about, but what exactly gave Yvette and Ellen the seeds of inspiration to start a podcast about mental health?
Yvette: Both Ellen and I have long term mental health issues, we know how isolating it can feel. We’ve both written about mental health and this felt like the next step. We’ve covered everything from schizophrenia to anxiety and borderline personality, and we’ve had celebrity guests including Ruby Wax, Audley Harrison, Kelly Holmes and Rose McGowan.
Ellen: Back in 2017, when we started the podcast, I was in the middle of a personal series about my own mental health journey, called Getting Better, and the response was incredible. I was getting messages every day from people thanking me for speaking up and saying that as a result of my articles they had gone to the doctor and finally asked for help, so podcasting felt like the perfect medium because it’s intimate. You can hear people telling their stories in their words.
Collecting memories along the way, the podcast has also taken to the stage:
Y: I’ll never forget our first Mentally Yours Live – a panel event in which top speakers Natasha Devon, Matthew Todd, Carl Anka and Dr Pragya Agarwal discussed mental health and work. We had a great turnout and it was brilliant to meet listeners in person. One listener in particular said it had really helped her when she was off work, which meant a lot.
E: My favourite episodes are always the ones where we talk to someone with a radically different experience to our own. Talking about mental illness when you yourself are struggling can bring up a lot of emotional stuff and it can be draining. I’ve recorded some episodes then gone home and cried because it resonated too much. I’ve had to learn how to decompress after each episode and be aware that listening is emotionally challenging.
As ever with podcasts, there can often be guests and topics that the hosts would love to get stuck into, so what would those topics be fore Mentally Yours?
Y: I’d love to have Mariah Carey on. She has bipolar disorder and it would be interesting to hear how she’s managed it throughout her life and career. I’m a huge fan too, so I’d just like an excuse to talk to her to be honest.
E: I would love to cover psychopathy. It’s another area that I have preconceptions about that I would love to have challenged, and ‘psychopath’ is such a strong label that it would be so powerful to have someone come on, say they identify with that label, and explain what it means to me
And what may the future hold for the podcast?
Y: As well as more great guests and interesting topics I’d love to host more live events and to also do some episodes out on location too. There’s a lot of great projects going on and it would be good to go to them if we can.
E: I’d like to chat to someone in the government and funding side of things to get their perspective on why on earth mental health care still isn’t being properly funded. We’ve had a mental health nurse, and someone who set up a ‘poetry pharmacy’ to prescribe poems to people struggling – I like what we’re doing at the moment, which is coming at mental illness from different angles.