Mental health podcasts can expose you to new resources and coping techniques.
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There's a podcast on almost every topic: News, true crime, comedy...you name it, there's probably a pod about it. And mental health is no exception.
More than 50 percent of people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder in their lifetime, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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And while listening to mental health podcasts is no replacement for therapy or medical care, these pods can span many formats, tones and topics to help normalize your experience with mental health issues.
"Podcasts can explain mental health theories and treatments in an approachable way," Kimberly Perlin, MSW, LCSW-C, licensed clinical social worker, tells LIVESTRONG.com. "A guest can explain an experience that you never knew how to put into words or clarify a concept that you are working on in therapy and life."
What's more, Perlin says mental health podcasts may help support your emotional wellbeing by:
- Exposing you to different perspectives on mental health
- Helping you learn new coping techniques
- Keeping you in the know about mental health research
- Helping you discover local and national mental health resources
To help you potentially experience these podcasting perks, we tapped therapists to learn their top picks for the best podcasts on mental health and how to find the right one for you.
Listening to mental health podcasts is not a substitute for finding a therapist. If you're dealing with a mental health issue, it's important to seek mental health care regardless of your listening habits.
1. Therapy for Black Girls
The Therapy for Black Girls podcast centers and encourages the mental wellness of Black women and girls (the podcast uses this language to describe its target audience).
Host Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, licensed psychologist, speaker, author and media personality, makes mental health and personal development topics accessible and relevant by weaving pop culture into the conversation.
The weekly podcast covers a wide range of topics, including Black women and suicide, fertility, dating and Black TV shows, all through relatable conversations between Bradford and other experts.
The podcast is an affirming listen for Black women and girls who so often have to face stigma surrounding mental health issues while also being excluded from larger conversations about mental wellness.
2. Speaking of Psychology
If you love science and research, the American Psychological Association's (APA) Speaking of Psychology podcast is for you.
It features experts talking about the latest psychological research and how to apply it to everyday life — for example, how grieving affects our brains and the benefits of exercise for brain health.
It's hosted by Kim I. Mills, the senior director of strategic external communications and public affairs for the APA.
You can look forward to listening to Mills and her expert guests discuss more serious mental health-related topics like grief and mood disorders, as well as lighter conversations about friendships and love.
Listen to the Speaking of Psychology podcast here.
3. The Melanated Social Work Podcast
The mental health force is mostly white, per the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is one of the many barriers to mental health care for people of color.
That's where The Melanated Social Work Podcast comes in: This show prioritizes conversations about mental health in marginalized communities pertaining to topics like colorism, white supremacy and indigenous wellness.
Episodes are driven by the lived experiences of the hosts, four self-identified men of color who are also social workers, and other guests who are people of color leading social justice work.
Clinical psychologist Anjali Ferguson, PhD, is a fan of this podcast because it helps listeners consider the connection between systemic oppression and mental health.
"This podcast does an excellent job of challenging current diagnostic norms by couching them within a context of white supremacy," she says.
The hosts — Marvin Toliver, LCSW; Michael Grinnell, LICSW; Jesse Wiltey, LCSW; and Josh McNeil, LCSW — discuss politics, masculinity and race in the hopes of destigmatizing healing practices in communities of color.
Listen to The Melanated Social Work podcast here.
4. Mayim Bialik's Breakdown
Who says getting information about mental health can't be entertaining? Enter actor Mayim Bialik's podcast, which combines celebrity interviews about mental health struggles with actionable information about mental health and therapy.
As a bonus, Bialik holds a PhD in neuroscience and also shares her knowledge throughout the episodes.
This podcast comes recommended by Nicholette Leanza, LPCC-S, licensed professional clinical counselor and lead clinician at LifeStance Health. She suggests adding this pick to your podcast rotation if you're looking for mental health discussions that also make you laugh.
Listen to Mayim Bialik's The Breakdown podcast here.
5. Code Switch
While NPR's Code Switch isn't technically a podcast about mental health, it offers nuanced conversations about race and culture and provides a space where people of color can be represented, be vocal and have their experiences validated.
Code Switch is hosted by journalists of color who use empathy and humor to dissect all the areas of our lives touched by race (which is pretty much everything). If you are looking for new insight into how race intersects with food, history, politics and art, for instance, consider giving it a listen.
"Through these discussions, Code Switch provides representation, validation and pride — all of which are essential for minority mental health promotion," Ferguson says.
Listen to the Code Switch podcast here.
6. The Self-Care Chronicle
Mental health professionals dedicate their time, energy and expertise to helping others move toward mental wellness. But when do they find the time to nurture their own wellness? That's what The Self-Care Chronicle podcast is all about.
"The podcast consists of interviews with fellow mental health professionals discussing how they manage their own mental health while navigating high caseloads, family obligations, a pandemic and social unrest," says Marsha Brown, PhD, licensed psychologist and the host of The Self-Care Chronicle.
"I think the podcast has been great for normalizing mental health professionals talking about their own mental health and self-care," she says.
The show largely features clinicians of color, so not only does it provide a space for people of color to feel seen and heard, but it also gives insight into how they nurture themselves.
Brown's suggestion? Give it a listen when you're in need of some new self-care tips or curious about how mental health pros navigate their own wellbeing.
Listen to The Self-Care Chronicle podcast here.
7. Trauma Chat
The word "trauma" sometimes feels like a buzzword.
But while the term is everywhere nowadays, we're still learning what it means and how it shows up in our lives, which is why Perlin recommends the Trauma Chat podcast for people who are looking to learn more about trauma.
Trauma Chat is hosted by trauma therapist Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, who explains to listeners how trauma affects our lives and how to get help.
Each of the brief, 10- to 20-minute episodes cover various aspects of trauma — including childhood trauma, attachment styles and disassociation — without using confusing jargon.
So if you've been looking for more trauma-related resources or therapy podcasts, Trauma Chat may be one of the best mental health podcasts for you.
Listen to the Trauma Chat podcast here.
What to Look for in a Podcast to Support Your Mental Health
The recommended mental health podcasts here are just a small slice of the best mental health podcasts out there, which is why it may feel overwhelming to decide which podcasts are worth listening to for your specific mental health interests.
Perlin suggests asking yourself the following questions when considering if a podcast about mental health could help support your emotional wellbeing or not:
- Does the podcast keep your attention?
- Does the podcast address topics that interest you?
- After listening to the podcast, are you inspired to learn more about the topic?
- Does the podcast give you practical tips you can utilize in your life right now?
- Does the podcast inspire hope for healing?
- Do the experts and interviewers appear to be informed on the topic, or do they seem to be spouting off their feelings or theories without any backup?
If you find a depression, anxiety or other mental health podcast that keeps your attention, inspires you and that seems like the hosts and guests share your lived experiences or address your specific concerns, then it may be worthwhile to tune in regularly. It also doesn't hurt to listen to a few different pods before deciding on your favorite.
"Mental health is just as important as physical health for overall wellness," Leanza says. "Listening to experts discuss self-care strategies, coping tactics for different conditions and ways to incorporate mental wellness into your daily routine can be a big step towards prioritizing mental health."