March and April have been…well…weird months for me. It’s not been an easy period and my shock at the behaviour of others seems to know no limits.
Regardless of the actions of others and the events I continue dragging my feet through, I want to continue the positive rhetoric following the incredible news that I’m now the ‘Creative Volunteer and Mental Health Advocate’ for Cruse Bereavement Support (South East), so with that in mind…
I’m premiereing a PODCAST!
Next month (May 2022) will mark the start of my new, OUR new, Mental Illness, Mental Health and Mental WELLNESS Podcast!
That’s right – I’m moving with the times and starting a FREE podcast via this website that will be available through all the usual channels.
This is a project that’s been in the pipeline for a while, as some of you will know from a few clandestine posts on Twitter earlier this year. This website has long been promoting the use of distractions to help in declining mental health periods, whether long-term or short. One of my personal principal distractions is the humble podcast, and I frequently listen to a mix of styles including advice, celebrity interviews, mindfulness and self-help and even a good old-fashioned nighttime story whenever I need to be taken away from a depressing, anxious and/or panic situation.
Lately I’ve needed them a lot and that tells me others probably do too.
What’s it all about?
This new pod has the working title ‘Elephant in the room’ (although this is likely to change!) because that’s what I want to talk about – the mental health conversations that AREN’T on every news channel when you prise your eyes open on a dreary Monday morning.
There’s no question the mental health narrative is much wider and more commonly spoken than ever before, but there are BIG cavities where normal people like you and me sit. For some reason they aren’t being investigated or discussed, and they won’t always be easy subjects. I’m talking about…
- Social phobias (or social anxiety)
- Perinatal mental illness and postnatal depression (for both women AND men)
- Sexual performance anxiety
- Phobias in general
- OCD and its unusual life-limiting traits
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Psychotic Disorders
- Suicidal thoughts, including the ‘attention-seeking’ assumptions made by narrow-minded people
- Panic disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- The projection of our Mental illness on our children and future generations
And so many others, from the very unique to the every day.
There are only a few that I have personal experience with, so this will be a huge learning experience for me too and I’m guessing it’ll be an interesting, thought-provoking and humorous adventure. I expect episodes to drop weekly and last between 30 and 45 minutes. Although the subject matter is going to be heavy, I hope to be able to add some laughs and light-heartedness amongst the seriousness of it all. You will also hear my south London accent and my anxiety-induced ticking and stuttering when I’m nervous, which I’m choosing to reveal so you know we’re all struggling with something, and even though I feel ashamed every day, you shouldn’t. WE shouldn’t.
Maybe we can work through some of those social anxieties together? Maybe it’ll help us…who knows?
My main aim is to provide a podcast episode that you can listen to, learn from, agree (or disagree) with, engage with AND (hopefully) come back to every week.
To bring it back to my ‘creativity helps with brain pain’ ideology – at the end of each episode there’ll be a fictional story, hopefully from some talented creatives who want to be part of the pod, but until then I’ll research stories that will be thought-provoking, uplifting and/or humorous to end each session. I may even write a couple of my own or invite along some talented writers I already know! I hope to include some mental illness stories in that mix too. The idea is that an enveloping, engrossing story will provide a gentle wind-down from the heavy content in the first half hour.
My dream is for the pod to end up in a place where people want to take part, hopefully get some interesting opinions and interviews from relevant professionals and industry experts, and widen the narrative of the lesser-spoken problems, bust open the myths you may have heard, and get talking about what Mental Health (or Mental Unhealth) is like for YOU.
For those of you wondering why…
- In England, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem EVERY YEAR.
In any given week in England…
- 8 in 100 people will be diagnosed with Mixed anxiety and depression
- 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder
- 4 in 100 people will be diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- 3 in 100 people will be diagnosed with depression
- 2 in 100 people will be disgnosed with a phobia
- 1 in 100 people will be disgnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)**
**Statistics taken from the Mind WebsiteMind Website, accessed 17th April 2022, https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/
This is a golden opportunity to talk openly and answer questions we don’t always feel comfortable discussing. For example, understanding what it’s like to…
- Feel an extreme urge to self harm
- Feel stuck
- Feel like you don’t know what to say or do to help someone
- Feel the need to bully
- Feel the need to finish the brownies (all 4 of them)
and gain knowledge, understanding and strategies on many other struggles.
I hope you’ll come along. This will be a scary project for me, but I’m confident this is the next step to making a real difference for real people, that includes me and my family, and hopefully you and yours!
I’ll be back with more news in the coming weeks, including content information for the first episode due to be released in May 2022. I really hope you’ll be here with me, supporting a new creative and mental health venture that has the power to grow in to something that helps us all.
What happens if it doesn’t work out? I’ll go back to talking to the social media and blog based void and be the social hermit we all know I’m comfortable as. I’m prepped for it to fail more than I am for it to succeed.
Either way, I have to try.
Want to join in?
Of course, I am now looking for talented, wise, mental-health warriors to be part of the pod. Specifically, if you are interested in…
- Suggesting a specific topic for discussion or research**
- Asking questions about mental difficulties you’d like to know more about***
- Looking for opinions or support signposting on a mental health matter**
- Discussing your experience of mental health and/or mental illness in an interview (which would be proofed and approved by you prior to posting)**
- Being interviewed and having your brain picked on a MH subject in which you are a bit of an expert**
- Looking for somewhere to have your short story (approx 3000-6000 words) showcased at the end of an episode**
Then please contact me – I would really LOVE to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com.
I can’t wait to get started. 💜💜💜📻📻📻
**Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous should confirm this in their email. Full names and personal information will never be revealed. All advice and support signposting given will be based on the research and opinions of me (Steph) and any guests taking part and SHOULD NOT be substituted for real life, face-to-face support and diagnosis. Do not leave a medical consultation while waiting for our opinions, the podcast should never be used as a diagnostic or final-medical-advisory service. Please contact your local NHS, GP or the NHS 111 service for appropriate support to be provided.
Stories submitted remain the property of the author, but by submitting a story the author understands and permits the podcast to have the story available on playback on ALL podcasting channels for as long as the podcast is available online. Stories will not be removed retrospectively, so please only submit your story if you are happy for it to stay on the podcast, potentially for eternity.
This is not a profit-making business venture and, as such, all content and participation (including my own) is on a voluntary, no-fee basis. I’m sorry I can’t pay people to be involved, but I only have my own time and resources to give, so fees, charges, invoices and payments are not possible. Because of the style of this podcast and mental health message it’s aiming to convey, they never will be.
This is a free podcast, and always will be.