Today is World Mental Health Day. I know. It’s all good to be talking about mental health, especially in podcasting, but we all know that we equally need well-funded mental health services that are either free or affordable, and easier and quicker to access.

So let’s take a look at schemes and initiatives that are trying to make a difference to our mental wellbeing, all of which have been profiled on podcasts recently. Mentally Yours, the podcast by the Metro newspaper, recently featured an interview with Tom Chapman from The Lion Barbers Collective. The charity trains barbers to notice symptoms of poor mental health in their clients so that they can encourage them to reach out to mental health services. There’s also an interview with Amy Perrin from The Marmalade Trust, an organisation that helps older people who may be experiencing loneliness: “It is something that will impact and affect us all at some point of our life,” Perrin said. “I think it is really important that we build a really open and honest conversation about it.”

The popular series Mental have an interview with Landon Dickesion, behind Ranch Hands Rescue, an organisation that uses animals as part of its counselling services. Meanwhile Bryony Gordon’s Mad World features a chat with Laura Campbell, who works as a suicide prevention manager for Govia Thameslink. She teaches staff how to spot at-risk passengers and is passionate about educating others: “I feel like if I can just save just one person, it is worth getting up every morning and doing the job,” she says.

If you’re specifically looking out for your mental wellbeing in the next week, the mindfulness Sleep Cove podcast is releasing a set of special episodes that hope to help. The first episodes launch today, with upcoming episodes covering abolishing self-negativity, gaining confidence and relieving anxiety.


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  • Shrine of Duty, a podcast that reviews those tense thrillers you often see on Sunday nights on BBC One, has a special episode on Vigil featuring cast and crew (13.4 million of us watched the first episode!) The show’s writer Tom Edge says that he is “busily working away” on season two on the podcast. “We’ve thrown a few things around, but I’ll keep most of that close to my chest,” he said. The podcast has also just launched a Patreon that you can support too.
  • Elektra Fence, star of the third series of Drag Race UK, is on a special episode of A Gay and a NonGay this week.
  • Reeva Misra, Founder & CEO of the holistic health company Walking on Earth, is on 40 Minute Mentor this month, a podcast that gives entrepreneurial secrets and advice from a leading business expert.
  • Comedian Babatúndé Aléshé and mental health campaigner Jordan Stephens joined Ovie Soko on his latest Amazon Originals podcast Ask Ovie.

Here are our podcast picks for the week ahead

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A Grown-Up Guide to Planet EarthLearning about the world around us shouldn’t end when we leave school. This engaging new Audible Originals series re-introduces you to a number of topics you might have learnt back in geography that you may have since forgotten about. It starts with how volcanic eruptions work, to the destructive forces that cause earthquakes and tsunamis.

I admire the series for its storytelling and the enthusiasm by the show’s host, Professor Christopher Jackson. It is also full to the brim of facts. One – that the Earth’s crust only makes one percent of the total mass of the planet. Another – that the scientific discovery that our tectonic crust moves is younger than the invention of airplanes. Another! – plate tectonics means that our tallest mountains grow one centimetre per year.

As always with Amazon Originals, this podcast is not free unless you are a paid subscriber Audible. Listening to this series does not take any of your credits.

British ScandalThis storytelling podcast from Wondery, covering some of the biggest scandals in British history, has just launched a new series exploring one of the most baffling crime tales in modern times. It tells the true story of John Darwin, a man who faked his own death in a canoeing accident so that his wife Anne (who was helping him) could claim a large life insurance package so they could move abroad to Panama.

When the relocation didn’t work out, John decided that the best way forward was to walk into a police station and claim that he has no memory of his canoeing accident five years earlier (yep I know, this feels like an episode of Neighbours). As you can imagine, the police and the media soon worked out what was really going on. Alice Levine and Matt Forde tell the story.

Spotify Podcast of the Week –  Shot & ChaserBrand new Spotify original show ‘Shot & Chaser’ is your daily dose of something interesting in ten minutes or less! The ‘shot’ is a short sharp question, followed by the ‘chaser’ – where the host delves into more details with an expert.

Each of the five hosts are specialists in their areas. On Monday’s, Sinead Garvan, who spent 5 years running the entertainment beat for BBC Radio 1, brings you the backstage stories from the world of entertainment. Zing Tsjeng, Vice’s Executive Editor and author of the ‘Forgotten Women’ series delivers all the exciting stories from history every Tuesday. Wednesday’s are hosted by tech expert Jon Devo, who has written extensively about how the internet has affected our daily lives and sits at the edge of tech innovation. Ayo Disu, who you may know as #Disumonics on Twitter, covers all things money on Thursday’s and answers the big questions like ‘why is gold valuable?’. And finally Seema Pankhania, who was a chef at Albany by Gordon Ramsay, and is now the food producer at MOB kitchen, gives you food inspiration every Friday.

Get your fix of Shot & Chaser Monday to Friday, and look out for the show on your Daily Drive playlist on Spotify.

Coiled“Your hair can say a lot about you,” says the talented podcast creator and documentary host Leanne Alie. “It can allow you to express who you are, where you come from and can fill you with confidence. But there is more than meets the eye, when it comes to Black hair.”

In this new, well-researched and conversational series, Alie’s new series explores all of the things she wishes she knew about Black hair when she was younger, with the help of experts and friends. The series delves into the history of Black Afro Hair (as well as predicts the future) and explores the various ethics around the business of Black hair today. 

At the same time, the series tries to dispel the myth that Black hair is complicated.

Just One Thing… with Michael MosleyI have always been a fan of podcasts that cut through health topics and tell you what you should know (“just tell me whether this thing is going to kill me or not!,” I often shout when a topic is discussed at length). 

This new Radio 4 podcast series looks at a different health benefit we could all be taking to benefit our mental or physical wellbeing, from the benefits of purchasing health plants (it can improve productivity and indoor pollution levels), to altering our meal plans (it can lower blood pressure and lower the chance if you getting diabetes). 

Each episode is roughly only fifteen minutes each too. Glorious.  

I was also back on Podcast Radio Hour with Laura Grimshaw this week, where we played clips from our favourite new and returning podcasts. Many of the podcasts that are written about in this very newsletter end up getting featured during the show, making a great place to hear excerpts from some new series.

Podcasts that feature in the latest edition include nature podcast As the Season Turns, the nostalgic Breaking Breakfast – The Story of Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show, the working class celebratory series The Proper Class Podcast and Shaun Keaveny’s new podcast venture The Line Up.Finally, a little while back I mentioned the launch of Apple Podcast Subscriptions and questioned how much it will shake up the world of podcasting. Matt Deegan, audio expert and the force behind the British Podcast Awards has written up an interesting take on how it is performing several months on:  “It’s a shame as Apple’s infrastructure to deliver it all, in-app, is pretty neat. But there’s loads of problems with it.”

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Categories: Weekly Picks