The five best mental health podcasts

Jo Hooper

When I was in a really bad way, just coming to terms with the idea that I was struggling with anxiety and depression and had been for a long time, I couldn’t read.

My mind was constantly churning, brain filled with rumination, regret, worry and guilt. I had been signed off work and was trying to come down from the anxiety high I had been on for months.

So, I turned to podcasts and they’ve remained a key part of my ability to maintain my mental health ever since.

I noticed that there wasn’t much online about the best mental health podcasts, so thought I’d do something about it and compile my own list.

As it’s me, it’s not a traditional list. There are a few recommendations here that are specifically about the mad mind, but a number of others that have had a big impact on my madness, without being labelled as a mental health podcast.

Here’s my take on the five best mental health podcasts:

best mental health podcasts
  1. Mad World – Bryony Gordon

This is great for helping you to understand mental health conditions and how they affect people – in an honest, illuminating and practical way.

Journalist and author Bryony Gordon interviews people from all walks of life about their mental health – from Prince Harry to Frank Bruno. Teens and children to Dames and well known faces.

They talk about everything from chronic depression, suicide and persistent anxiety through to OCD, eating disorders and autism.

2. Happy Place – Fearne Cotton

This is a bit of an institution now. Fearne interviews famous names about their relationship with their mind, what lifts them up and how they maintain their mental health.

Favourite episodes include YouTuber Zoe Sugg, who has been really open about her struggles with anxiety; and writer Poorna Bell who lost her husband Rob to suicide in 2015 and has written so movingly about her experiences since.

3. How to Fail the podcast – Elizabeth Day (now a book!)

This is a goodie. Author and journalist Elizabeth Day started this podcast after a really tough time in her life – she had tried IVF unsuccessfully and her marriage had broken down.

The concept is that by learning to fail and accept failure, we can be more successful and stronger. As someone with ‘toxic levels of perfectionism’ (thanks therapist number two!), I find the concept of accepting failure utterly alien.

However, this podcast has been so uplifting and motivating, I might be getting there. I’d thoroughly thoroughly recommend it.

My faves are phenomenal author Tara Westover, who talks about her failure to stay connected to her family; political journalist John Crace, who’s tale of cocaine addiction is incredibly moving; and the episode where writer Dolly Alderton interviews Elizabeth herself.

4. The Jules and Sarah Podcast – Jules von Hep and Sarah Powell

I can’t tell you how good for my mental health this podcast is.

Jules and Sarah are hilarious, uplifting and brutally honest about everything from weight and body image to the stresses of daily life. You feel like you know them and their lives so well that dipping into the podcast is like sitting in their kitchen with a glass of wine.

Perfect for your commute too as each podcast (released on a Friday) is about 35 minutes long.

5. The Little Chapters – Kayte Ferris and Jessica Rose Williams

Bloggers Kayte and Jessica don’t necessarily talk about mental health issues, but they do talk about a ton of topics that can have a big impact on your mind.

Topics like purpose, likeability, routine, money and social media to name a few.

I love their interested and self compassionate way of dissecting complicated and sometimes painful topics – I find this a very soothing listen. It’s one I put on in the morning while pottering with a cup of tea, starting my day slowly.

Listened to any of these? Got any other recommendations for the best mental health podcasts? Let me know in the comments.

You might also enjoy:

I’ll be appearing on a few podcasts myself soon, if you want to be the first to know when they’re coming out, keep up to date with the mad and sad club blog and all that’s going on over here, do join the club and sign up to the newsletter – click on the image below.

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