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Proper Mental with Tom Davies



It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, and we’re returning to an interview for Issue #022 of the magazine. Jason Reed talks to Tom Davies from the Proper Mental podcast in The Good Samaritan…

The inspiration for starting a podcast is intrinsically personal – Tom Davies has used his own journey as the foundation for his highly regarded Proper Mental Podcast, a show which leaves no stone unturned for mental health. Tom has always been beautifully open about his own experiences:

“I started Proper Mental to create the sort of platform that I needed when I was struggling. Initially it was going to be a short series of conversations but it seemed to resonate with so many people it made more sense to start making a weekly show.

In 2016 my mental health declined to the point of collapse and I experienced a breakdown. I didn’t tell anyone what was happening to me. Mental health just wasn’t on my radar and I’d never heard anyone I could relate to talk about being poorly. I didn’t have the words to describe what was going on, I didn’t know who I could tell if I did. I thought I was going ‘Proper Mental’.”

Tom’s audience continues to grow and the national award nominations are also starting to roll in – but Tom makes it clear that the outreach of the podcast is the most rewarding part of the process.

“It wasn’t until I started speaking openly about my mental health and listening to others talk about their own experiences that I could really start working towards recovery. Speaking to so many people has given me an incredible understanding of my own mental health journey and a fascinating insight into what other people are going through.

I make the podcast so that anyone who listens might feel less alone, get a better understanding of their own experiences or gain insight into the experiences of others and maybe find out about organisations, support systems or self-care techniques that they might not know much about.”

As with any aspect of mental health, Tom has to skilfully and humbly steer the conversations with his guests.

“It feels like a real privilege to be able to hold space for my guests and the fact that they trust me with their stories is an honour I will never take lightly. I recently recorded an episode with a street artist, and former soldier called Jay Wheeler, who was medically discharged. It was incredibly moving and I couldn’t be prouder of how we navigated such a challenging story. Another episode that was an incredible experience was one I recorded with my wife. We talked through my experience with mental ill health from her perspective and the effect it had on our family and that resonated with a massive amount of people.”

The Proper Mental Podcast has plans to continue, and Tom is also putting a lot of time into further outreach efforts.

“I did my first live show last year, it was really well received and a lot of fun. I’m currently in the process of pulling together everything I’ve learned from almost 100 conversations about mental health and putting it all into a talk that I’d like to deliver to schools, workplaces or at events. I try to introduce my listeners to charities and organisations that they might not be aware of and speak to experts about different aspects of support and self-care so anyone listening can get a better idea of what’s out there.”

Proper Mental

Listen to Proper Mental on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast apps >>


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