Mental Health Podcasts
If you suffer from depression or want to know how to support your friends, Mental Health Podcasts offer valuable insights and advice.
While they are no substitute for seeing a therapist, these popular podcasts cover many topics to help listeners feel validated and less alone during a dark moment.
If you’re looking for an educational and inspiring podcast that explores mental health from diverse perspectives, look no further than The Hogg Foundation podcast. The monthly series features interviews with advocates, researchers, consumers, and officials who are paving the way for a new generation of mental wellness.
Listen in to the witty conversations between Joe List and his guests as they share their personal stories of overcoming anxiety and find coping strategies. The podcast focuses on the importance of nurturing one’s best self, which is a philosophy that’s especially helpful for those dealing with chronic anxiety.
Into the Fold, launched in 2014, covers a wide range of topics that affect our mental health and wellbeing. In each episode, the hosts engage in open and honest conversations with experts, celebrities, and other notable figures. From renowned meditation teachers to bestselling authors, the hosts simplify complex topics in an easy-to-understand format.
The Hogg Foundation recently declared racism a mental health crisis, which is why these episodes are so important. They highlight how historic forms of discrimination intersect with our mental well-being and how people are responding to these issues.
In addition to exploring gender-affirming care and Black maternal health, the podcast also reveals what the history of Austin State Hospital teaches us about our mental health today. The episode “Minority Mental Health: Women Knowledge Workers in Higher Education” is particularly compelling as it explains how the gendered and racialized organizational structure of large universities has had negative effects on women’s mental health. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in learning more about the state of mental health in Texas.
Therapy for Black Girls
With a mission to make mental health more relevant and accessible for Black women, Therapy for Black Girls hosts conversations with therapists and wellness experts about the unique challenges that Black people face. From discussing how to cope with workplace prejudice and intergenerational trauma to giving advice about fertility and body image, this no-holds-barred podcast explores a wide range of emotional issues that plague Black women.
This community-driven podcast features interviews with a host of Black therapists who share their perspectives and experiences. The site also provides a directory of therapists that factor in the needs of Black women. If a person is unable to find a therapist through the directory, the podcast recommends calling them to discuss their rates and ask if they offer discounts.
If you’re looking for a podcast that focuses on intersectionality, try the show hosted by Brene Brown, a research professor and best-selling author. She and her guests explore topics like shame, vulnerability, and activism through candid conversations that can help us better understand how societal injustices impact our mental health.
The podcast “Code Switch” is another great option. Hosted by a host of journalists from different backgrounds, this NPR podcast tackles everything from the legacy of lynchings in modern America to covert forms of anti-Semitism. It’s a powerful listen that can help us realize how much we all have in common.
Closer to Fine
There are few songs as iconic as “Closer to Fine.” The folk anthem by the Indigo Girls, first released in 1989, is joy, hope, and validation set to music. It is the kind of artistic lightning in a bottle that everyone hopes to capture. And, of course, the Indigo Girls have never tired of performing it (they claim they invite opening acts and audience members to sing along at every show).
But “Closer to Fine” has also become a cultural touchstone, appearing on television shows like The Office, South Park, and even the blockbuster movie Star Wars. In the latter, we see a straight couple, Jim and Andy, get drunk at work and start an emphatic sing-along to the song — much to Karen’s chagrin. The scene is funny because it’s a cheeky lesbian feminist joke that will be understood by liberal-minded viewers as well as those who identify as gay or transgender.
More recently, the song has appeared on ABC sitcom Schooled and the Amazon series Transparent. On the former, music teacher Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) belts out the tune while driving to a women’s festival with her daughters Ali and Sarah. The song is a sign of Maura’s coming out as a trans woman, and it also signifies the group’s closeness and solidarity.
In 2023, Barbie also croons the song as she packs up to leave Barbieland for the real world. It’s the most mainstream use of the song, but it illustrates its enduring popularity and relevance as a folksy feminist hit. As Barbie becomes more enlightened over the course of the film, she learns to accept life’s uncertainties and embrace her confusion.
Often rated the #1 health podcast on both Apple and Spotify, Huberman Lab features neuroscience professor Andrew Huberman discussing science and science-based tools for life. His work at Stanford’s neuroscience laboratory and partner in a dietary supplement company, Momentous, centers on brain development and neural plasticity. But his most popular endeavor is a podcast that blends his passions for biology, animals, self-improvement and knowledge sharing.
The first episodes of Huberman Lab, which launched in 2021, blended neuroscience with a more personal approach to wellness. They introduced the idea that the human body can be optimized for health through dietary habits, exercise and mindfulness. The show’s aesthetics, featuring Huberman in a dark button-up shirt sitting before a backdrop of green leaves, also appealed to a “worried well” contingent eager to refine the inner workings of their bodies with cutting-edge research.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Huberman’s focus shifted to mental health. He was frustrated with what he perceived as the medical community’s exclusive focus on the virus and a lack of holistic guidance for public health. His podcast, which explores how our brain and its connections with the organs of the body control our perceptions and behaviors, quickly attracted a large social media following.
Unlike many other science podcasts, Huberman Lab isn’t a platform for the promotion of particular products or diets. He’s openly discussed his use of supplemental vitamins and supplements and emphasizes the importance of getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, limiting stress and consuming good fats. His show has a strong following among people with anxiety disorders, for whom his experiments with virtual reality to stimulate the regrowth of retinal neurons and the effect of specific breathing patterns on mood have proved useful.
The Mental Illness Happy Hour
Podcasts can be great for learning about any subject, and mental health is no exception. Whether you’re looking for insight into depression, advice for staying positive, or coping strategies that are proven to work, there’s a podcast out there for you. But with so many options out there, how can you decide which one is right for you?
It’s a good idea to choose a podcast that is hosted by a professional. It’s not to say that other podcast hosts — such as authors, celebrities, or comedians — can’t offer a useful perspective, but it can be helpful to have someone who has trained in mental health issues guide the conversation.
Paul Gilmartin, who has appeared on numerous television shows, including Dinner and a Movie and Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, is the host of The Mental Illness Happy Hour. He has an approachable personality and creates a safe space for his guests to talk about their experiences with mental illness. He uses humor to defuse difficult conversations and helps listeners understand that they’re not alone in their struggles.
Another popular podcast on the topic of mental health is Dear Therapists, hosted by Lori Gottlieb and Guy Winch, both respected therapists and Ted Talk speakers. This engaging podcast takes you inside therapy sessions, allowing you to hear the real-life experiences of both patients and their therapists. Episodes cover a wide range of topics, from dealing with depression to healing after trauma.
For more serious podcasts, Psych Hub’s “Inside Mental Health” offers a compassionate and insightful take on mental health issues. This podcast features interviews with experts and people who have struggled with mental health problems, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.