Social illness

Our Favourite Mental Health Podcasts

When we’re feeling not-so-great, podcasts can be more accessible than the overwhelm of a TV show or the concentration required to read a book. The problem is, there are so many out there, that it can be hard to know where to start. We might quite like listening to podcasts that discuss mental health, but want to stick to those grounded in reality, and want to avoid those that reduce the ‘solution’ to poor mental health down to one or two activities. It’s often far more complicated than that.

We’ve shared some of our favourite podcasts before, but here are ten more that we enjoy. They’re a bit of a mix. Some are directly about mental health or mental illness, others are psychology-based, and some just help us to feel calm when we listen to them, giving us a little break from our brain.

Elizabeth Day speaks to lots of different people about things in their life that haven’t gone quite right. We love it because it’s very down to earth, there are interesting conversations, and it reminds us that we are not defined by our mistakes.

Melissa takes us with her for walks through nature. This podcast is a lovely dose of calm, no matter how hectic our day. It almost feels as though we’re wandering through the countryside with her (and Scout the dog!).

The American Psychological Society’s podcast is a little more science-based than some of the others on our list, discussing links between recent psychological research and everyday life. One thing we particularly like is that they share the transcript for each episode. So, if we don’t want to listen and would rather read instead, then that option’s open to us.

Caroline’s down to earth, honest reflections about mental health and more specifically, anxiety, are really reassuring, helping us to remember that we’re not alone. We feel like she validates some of our thoughts, and shares ideas of things we could try to help with some of our anxieties. As well as solo episodes, she interviews some well-known people about their experiences of anxiety, too.

Claudia Winkleman and Tanya Byron chat with parents about different things they’re finding tough but want to work on. This podcast is almost like being a ‘fly on the wall’ in someone else’s therapy session. What we love is that this isn’t a podcast that tells us we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do something (or things!), it’s just an open set of conversations and discussions exploring different issues that so many of us face.

Rachael shares thoughts and tips about various different topics that can affect our mental health. This podcast is very gentle and has some actionable tips, tools and strategies that we can use to help us cope with tricky times. Rachael shares a transcript below each podcast for those who would prefer to read, rather than listen.

Frankie Bridges has had her own well-publicised experiences of mental health problems. In her podcast, she talks to other well-known names about their ups, downs, and everything in between. We like that it’s not so confined to the idea of ‘mental illness’ that it sees it in a vacuum. Instead, it talks about lots of different topics that can feed into how we muddle our way through life.

Coping With The Frustration Of Mental Illness

This podcast doesn’t release new episodes, but there are two series’ of old ones that we really enjoy. Susan Calman talks to others in a light-hearted yet frank way, about the ups and downs of life with depression. She’s very open and very honest. She and her guests challenge one another to look at things from different perspectives, but understand that it’s not always as easy as ‘just’ doing something.

Comedians Elis James and John Robins chat to people about the difficulties they’ve faced, and how they then coped with them. This podcast is not specifically about mental illness, but tackles mental health in a much broader sense, exploring topics ranging from addiction to food to sleep.

Though not strictly a mental health podcast, a regular injection of hope is something we all need. Jane Goodall has spent her life being curious about the world and inspiring hope. She’s full of compassion, and has a unique perspective on the world, formed by rich and extensive life experience. In her podcasts, she shares stories and insights that help us to feel hopeful in short, digestible episodes.

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