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Podcast of the Month: The Mental Illness Happy Hour

When you’re dealing with a mental health issue, listening to the struggles and successes of others in similar situations can do a lot for your healing process.

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If you need some relatable insight into coping with mental health issues or simply want to know you aren’t alone, The Mental Illness Happy Hour might be the answer.

No one should have to feel alone when they’re experiencing mental health issues or dealing with an upsetting emotional time. But the unfortunate truth is that many people do feel isolated and alone when times are tough. Whether you’ve experienced pain in the past or are dealing with a challenging experience right now, listening to The Mental Illness Happy Hour can help reassure you that you are not alone.

What it’s all about

Comedian Paul Gilmartin hosts this weekly 90-minute podcast that addresses all areas of mental health. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health issue such as depression, are healing from a trauma such as childhood abuse or struggle with negative thinking, you’re sure to hear a story that speaks to you. It was through his own experiences with depression that Gilmartin was inspired to create a podcast to reduce the stigma of mental illness and the isolation and loneliness it can inflict on its sufferers. He explains that although “therapy or support groups are better for real-life, practical solutions, hands-on feedback and designs for living,” the podcast is meant to offer “an entertaining or compelling respite from negativity that hopefully leaves people feeling better about themselves and less alone.”

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The format

The website features several surveys, and in each podcast, Gilmartin starts off by reading a listener’s responses to one of the surveys. He then welcomes a special guest whom he chats with for the majority of the podcast. The guest is most often someone from the entertainment field, such as an actor, writer or stand-up comic. But on some occasions it will be a listener with a particularly interesting story or a medical professional with insights to share. At the end of the show, Paul and the guest take part in a “fear off,” a “love off” or sometimes both, where they go back and forth stating their own personal fears or loves. The show then wraps up with another listener survey or email.

Why you’ll love it

When you do decide to settle in for a listen, keep in mind that because people can face all kinds of tough traumas and painful situations, the subject matter can be a little dark and hard to take in at times. But you’re likely to find the refreshing honesty and openness that comes with such challenging discussions to be worth it. Gilmartin aims to make the podcast “as compelling to people who aren’t dealing with mental illness as it is to those who are.” It is his hope that when “people from both groups listen, it might help reduce the stigma and shame we carry around.” So whether you’re living with a mental illness, coping with a past trauma, suffering from negativity or simply want to know more about the challenges those around you might be facing, be sure to tune in.

How to get it

There are over 100 episodes to choose from, all featuring different, unique guests and tackling a wide variety of issues. Search for “mental illness happy hour” on iTunes, and take a peek at all the subjects and discussions you have to choose from.

More on mental health

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Ways to honour World Mental Health Day
How your diet may be affecting your mood

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