Podcasts are incredibly popular these days, and there are so many to choose from. From politics to pop culture this type of audio entertainment covers almost everything you can think of and is a great way to pass the time and learn something new. But that’s not all it’s good for – mental health podcasts, in particular, can boost your emotional wellness and be an effective form of self-care.
Shelby John, a clinical social worker who specializes in addiction, anxiety, and trauma, loves mental health podcasts because they are not only extremely accessible for most people, but they are also free. “The freedom to be able to listen to episodes whenever and wherever you want is incredible,” she says. “This allows people who maybe otherwise would not go to therapy or hire a coach to access knowledge and practical skills from professionals.”
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The information you consume has a direct impact on how you behave, feel, and think, says Amy Morin, a therapist and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. “If you listen to podcasts that share stories, strategies, and tips that can improve your mental health, you can learn how to improve your psychological well-being,” she explains. “A podcast might affirm the information you already know, which can reassure you that you are on the right path. A podcast might also help you feel less alone. This is especially true if you hear stories and interviews with guests you can relate to. You might also learn new things or discover strategies you can try to reduce your anxiety or boost your mood.”
Most mental health podcasts feature experts in a specific field, such as behavioral scientists, psychologists, therapists, or other types of pros with unique and helpful insights to share.
How To Choose A Mental Health Podcast That Is Right For You
The host will be your constant companion, so look for one whose personality and voice mesh well with you. You should also make sure the podcast you’re listening to is produced by a licensed and legitimate mental health care provider, advises Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Master Social Worker Kayleigh Parent. “Even then, just because someone is licensed does not mean they are competent or using evidence-based practices,” she says.
Another factor to consider is whether you are part of the target audience. Of course, anyone can listen to any podcast, but you may be able to benefit more if you tune into ones that you feel a kinship with, whether it is because of the age group, ethnicity, gender identity, or mental health issue they address .
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Know that many of the conversations that take place on podcasts are based on personal experience. The host and guests may touch on sensitive topics that trigger you. If you’re not comfortable with what will be discussed on a podcast (read those episode blurbs beforehand!), it may not be right for you.
Remember: Podcasts are not a replacement for therapy. If you struggle with issues such as addiction, eating disorders, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, or trauma, seek help from a medical professional.
Ready to jump in? Here are the 16 best mental health podcasts recommended by experts.