Have You Heard? is where the Pod Bible team meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard? aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! We recently heard from Tom Davies, creator and host of a podcast about all aspects of mental health and mental illness, The Proper Mental Podcast.
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
My name is Tom and I’m the host of The Proper Mental Podcast. The idea behind the podcast is to normalise open and honest conversations about mental health by having those types of conversations. It’s not a sad stories podcast, it’s actually quite light hearted and very conversation based. My goal is to be relatable to anyone listening and to encourage people to ask for help if they need it and speak up if they want to.
I’ve spoken to people from the telly, Olympic athletes, local community leaders and even members of my own family and all these stories have things in common and that’s where the relatability comes in. I’ve also done specific episodes about things like medication with people who are qualified to talk about these things. I use Proper Mental to explore all the different aspects of mental health and mental illness and I want the podcast to become a resource for anyone who needs it.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
Distraction Pieces with Scroobius Pip. I wasn’t even sure what a podcast was before Pip started! I’ve been listening to his show from very early on and I still enjoy listening now.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
Hearing other people talk openly about their own struggles with mental health helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did and inspired me to start talking about my own experiences. Once I opened up, I realised how powerful conversation can be and how much can be gained from shared experience. I wanted to do something to help other people and to break down some of the mental health related stigma that can stop people getting the help they need. The one thing I’ve always been good at is talking so a podcast just made sense!
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
I’m a big fan of The Fight Disciples and I love how they stand out in a very crowded area of podcasting by being authentic and passionate. It’s awesome that they don’t rely on guests and it’s based purely on conversation rather than interviews and is still really popular. That’s tough to do and they are brilliant at it! I also love Life in the Stocks. Matt has built up a really big podcast in a very organic way and by staying completely away from mainstream guests. He only talks to people he’s into and that really comes out in the conversations. His back catalogue is brilliant and incredibly varied!
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
Possibly the biggest (no pun intended) mental health advocate is Tyson Fury. Him being so open really did bring a huge amount of awareness to mental health and despite him being the Heavyweight Champion of the World, his story isn’t particularly different to millions of other people, which is what makes him so relatable. Plus, he doesn’t do many podcasts so it would be an exclusive!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Don’t worry about trying to get celebrity guests or big names. If you’re engaging in authentic conversations that are relevant to your audience, then people will get on board. I’ve chatted to influencers with thousands of followers, award winners and sports stars but my most downloaded episode by a mile is one I recorded with my Aunty, who’s a nurse. Also, if you’re using Zoom make sure you’ve got decent WIFI! I definitely learned this one the hard way!
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
The episode I get the most messages and emails about is actually a bonus episode I recorded with my wife. I have shared my own mental health journey in an early episode so we recorded a follow up where we chatted about how my illness affected her and our family. It seemed to resonate with so many people and it’s a very good representation of what Proper Mental is all about. It’s a side of mental health that isn’t really explored but it’s not just those struggling who are impacted by mental illness and it felt like an important conversation to have.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
Proper Mental comes out every Monday, and often on a Thursday, on all the usual podcast platforms. You can connect with me on social media @propermentalpodcast.
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