Mental Health Awareness Week was this week. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always get a bit cynical about themed weeks such as this. Talking about our mental health is important, but funding and resources matter so much more.

That being said, there has been some great audio recently that talks about how to deal with your mental health in a practical way. Baby On The Brain, a podcast that explores all the emotions following the news of a pregnancy, joined forces with Dope Black Mums to explore the mental health issues faced by Black mothers and mothers-to-be, which has been complicated by the pandemic. 

Bottoming, the LGBTQ+ mental health podcast, recently did a helpful episode that looked at all of the different roots you can take into therapy, from the NHS to charity to going private, with special guests from each route. Self Care Club have also done a special about the mental health warning signs we should all look out for (one sign: “do we have a sustained period where our ability to function and carry on everyday tasks of normal life is affected?” said guest and counsellor Kate Medlin.)

A few months ago we recommended the BBC Radio 1 Life Hacks podcast, presented by Vick Hope and Katie Thistleton. They have just released a new batch of episodes covering workplace topics, many of which are mental health related. Topics include how to build self-confidence in your own ability and how to recover from rejection. Off-topic, there was an interesting discussion on the rising popularity of side-hustles too. “I think a lot of people are getting into [side hustles] for a number of reasons,” explained careers coach Jaz Broughton. “Partly because we realise that it is setting ourselves up for disappointment sometimes to expect our entire career fulfillment to come from one particular company and one particular role. I think we’re also realising that we’re a lot more talented than we realise.”


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  • Rosie and her mum Lorraine Kelly have launched their own podcast called What If?, where they ask guests about the key decisions they’ve made in their lifetime and the lives they could have led. Several episodes are already up, including the novelist Marian Keyes, Drag Race’s Michelle Visage and Gok Wan.
  • Dame Jenni Murray has launched a podcast looking at those who start a second career in teaching, called Now I’m Grown Up. In the latest episode Murray talks to Dame Rachel de Souza (the Children’s Commissioner for England) to talk about why education has an impact throughout life and society at large.
  • Michael Ball joins The Gaby Roslin Podcast this week, where he talks about his transition from musical theatre to television, how he has faced those crushing anxiety and self-doubt and what it was like to perform at Eurovision.
  • Coming soon: Krista Tippett, journalist and host of the popular US podcast On Being, is the latest The Poetry Exchange this Thursday (the 20th May).

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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Human ResourcesMoya Lothian-McLean is the host of this new illuminating series exploring our historic links to the transatlantic slave trade. Its purpose is to highlight how slavery touched every part of the nation, not just the areas you have heard about before or would expect. “I just want to learn the truth,” says Moya at the start of the episode, “about how the British slave trade shaped my past – our past – and our present.”

To prove this point, the story starts in Moya’s home county of Herefordshire. In particular, a school that has links to Britain’s first slave trader. The series has a lot of strengths: its intention, its research and its production. A recommended listen.

Write-Off with Francesca Steele – Every writer has experienced failure. You wouldn’t be a writer without one – from failed pitches, to failed projects. In this podcast you’ll hear stories from writers who have suffered and struggled, but have managed to come out the other side with considerable advice. Rejection and failure podcasts are all the rage at the moment, so it’s great to know that there’s now podcasts with tailored advice.

Spotify Podcast of the WeekBrydon &: Rob is joined by fellow Welshman Rhys Ifans on this week’s Brydon &. They discuss Rhys’ erring on the side of danger and how that’s shaped where he is today – in both his work and personal life. He talks about appearing in a movie with another great Welshman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and tells a story involving yet another Cymru legend, Sir Tom Jones. Possibly the Welshest podcast you’ll hear all week! 

The RetrospectorsWant to go beyond your Timehop app to find out all of the things that have happened on exactly this date? This new history podcast out every weekday, notes anniversaries, celebrates birthdays, remembers tragedies and reminds you of all of those news events you may have forgotten about. I particularly like the varied stories that they like to choose, from the story of Alcoholics Anonymous to the life and impact of the ‘filth’ TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse (without her, we probably wouldn’t have had Ofcom). This is the podcast equivalent of falling deep into a Wikipedia hole. It’s presented by Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina and Arion McNicoll.

The Graham Norton Book ClubIt feels as if Book Clubs are all the rage at the moment. Now Graham Norton, who is also a bestselling novelist, has got his own. He’s joined by the journalist Alex Clark and the writer Sara Collins to review and talk about interesting book releases, but he’s also joined with guest contributors from all over the country to talk about their favourites too. As a result, it feels like a book club should.

As you would expect from Norton, the podcast is a witty and breezy listen, with more than ten books mentioned in the opening episode alone. I should mention though that the podcast is only available if you are an Audible subscriber, which means that it isn’t free to listen, but at least each publication mentioned in the book has been linked to an audiobook version on their website, which means you can get into the book straightaway.

Just before we go, a reminder that Great British Podcast newsletter subscribers can get a discount at the upcoming podcasting conference Podcast Day 24. Taking place on the 7th June (and a conference that you can watch from the comfort of your own home), speakers include some of the most notable names from the podcasting industry in the UK, US and Australia.

Tickets are usually £99 + VAT, but for subscribers of the Great British Podcasts newsletter you can grab tickets for only £75 + VAT. All you need to do is use the code BPAINSIDER at the checkout. Just head to the website for more details and details on the latest speakers and sessions.

Categories: Weekly Picks