On any given day, I would estimate that I listen to two or so hours of podcasts. Between a commute that’s often extended by traffic, an energetic dog that requires lengthy walks, and day-to-day chores made more enjoyable with interesting commentary, podcasts are a cornerstone to my everyday routine. It seems that I am not alone in this practice, with the number of Americans listening to podcasts consistently rising 10-20% from year to year. Podcasts allow people to conveniently explore new topics, indulge in their passions, find solidarity among their peers, and make valuable connections.
In September 2018, the Student Alliance for Mental Health Innovation and Action (StAMINA) hosted an “Ideathon” to convene students, parents, educators, and mental health professionals to brainstorm and prototype products and programs around the design challenge: How might we educate and empower families to prioritize youth mental health? One of the answers to this challenge? Quite appropriately, a podcast!
After eight months of student-driven work, StAMINA is releasing their podcast, “Brain Waves.” Students are all too often left out of the mental health conversation and have difficulty finding spaces to learn and discuss the challenges or questions they may have. By utilizing a popular and easily accessible platform to communicate educational and inspirational messages, StAMINA has created a pathway for students to get engaged. “Brain Waves” is StAMINA’s way of prioritizing and amplifying youth voices, increasing mental health awareness, and decreasing stigma. Through stories and interviews, you’ll hear the perspectives of students who tackle these issues in their everyday lives. The season kicks off with an in-depth exploration of the history, definitions, and advocacy surrounding mental health. Throughout the rest of the season, listeners can expect to learn about specific mental health illnesses as well as challenges all students face in their everyday lives. Tips and resources will be highlighted, both from student and expert perspectives.
You don’t have to be a student to listen to and benefit from “Brain Waves.” If you’re interested in incorporating student perspectives into your work, curious about youth experiences with mental health, or you care about improving adolescents’ well-being, “Brain Waves” is the podcast for you. Their first episode in now available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. The season will feature 13 episodes, with a new one being released every Friday.
I have been fortunate enough to participate on the “Brain Waves” team throughout its development and am excited to see the impact that this initiative will have. The passion these students have for claiming their role in the combating the mental health crisis and helping their peers is unparalleled. As a self-proclaimed podcast aficionado, I can confirm that this podcast is one worth adding to your weekly lineup.