The best mental health podcasts are designed to be seamlessly incorporated into our nonstop schedules. Our collective pace (hint: it’s fast!) is ironically both the reason that prioritizing self-help can be difficult and why it’s so essential. “As a therapist in private practice, I am always encouraging my clients to seek out and utilize resources that supplement their mental health,” says Dr. Terri Bacow, a CBT psychologist based in New York. “We are all painfully busy, and listening to podcasts is a wonderful way to receive support in an efficient and effective way.”
In addition to boosting our daily mental health routines, podcast hosts and guests serve to educate listeners, making them a valuable on-the-go resource. “Podcasts are a great way to allow for deeper learning, connection, and introspection into any topic, especially mental health,” says Dr. Daryl Appleton, who specializes in mental health for high-performers. “I like to remind my clients that the media we consume matters. Adding feel-good and even challenging podcast episodes and topics is a useful way to continue growth and development.”
While experts are quick to note that podcasts aren’t a replacement for therapy, they provide concrete coping skills that can be easily incorporated into your day-to-day life for instant improvement. And finally, mental health podcasts can foster a sense of community—even if you’re listening solo. “The magic of mental health podcasts is that they help people feel less alone,” says Bacow. “You can find a sense of community as well as empathy, compassion, and understanding.”
Here, 15 of the best mental health podcasts, as recommended by therapists.
Hosted by Untamed author Glennon Doyle, along with her wife Abby Wambach and sister Amanda Doyle, We Can Do Hard Things (the title a nod to Doyle’s personal mantra) focuses on life’s difficulties and ways to deal with them. “I love Glennon, Abby, and Amanda’s brilliant minds and raw, unfiltered style at tackling some of the most important issues that we are facing both individually and collectively,” says psychiatrist and executive coach Dr. Anna Yusim.
An agreed-upon favorite among our experts, Where Should We Begin helps couples to work through complex issues. “Esther talks about the common struggles that couples face, and is able to to dissect her therapy sessions that’s palatable for both therapists and non-therapists,” says Alyssa Mancao, psychotherapist and wellness practitioner. “It provides actionable tools and insights for people to utilize within their own relationships; and it also destigmatizes issues that everyday couples face.”
“This podcast is the epitome of, ‘It’s okay to not be okay,’” says Appleton. “Validating and raw, each episode has great guest and dialogue around some of life’s toughest topics. It’s one of my favorites for needing a moment of clarity and feeling seen on a tough day.”
It’s impossible to wholly address mental health without talking physical health. General practitioner and author Rangan Chatterjee, MD explores this connection, chatting with health experts and sharing ways to help you augment (or overhaul) your routines and feel better.
“I can listen to Laurie talk forever,” says Yusim, who works closely with Santos at Yale. “She is such a brilliant thinker and speaker who expertly integrates the latest scientific research to help us understand how to think, feel, and be happier and more fulfilled on a regular basis.”
The Mental Illness Happy Hour talks mental health with a refreshing candor, making listeners feel safe—and free to grin on through anything that comes their way. “Laughter is always my favorite medicine,” says Appleton. “This podcast brings on great guests in the field of mental health and science and infuses conversations with humor. Great for when you need a pick-me-up or a smile during a rough time.”
Though this comedy podcast is no longer releasing new episodes, its backlog of funny and honest conversations is worthy of a place on this list. Listen as public radio host John Moe chats with guests about coping with depression, providing listeners with insight to their own experience (or that of a loved one) and a reminder that we are not alone in our less-than-sunny emotions.
“This terrific anxiety podcast covers all aspects of anxiety and includes discussion of other mental health conditions, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD),” says Bacow. “It is impossible not to find a topic that will be interesting to you.” And, as a bonus: “Several of the episodes are devoted to success stories, which bring listeners hope without leaning into toxic positivity.”
Appleton’s own podcast uses research and common sense to help listeners separate fact from feeling. “I created Feelings and other F Words as a way to response to the questions I get most,” she says. “This podcast breaks down the science around why we are the way we are and gives tangible action steps on what to do about it.”
“I adore this podcast, who amongst us hasn’t been ghosted?,” effuses Bacow. “The host, Greta, is warm and wonderful and talks about her own experience with ghosting. While ghosting is a very specific experience, there are many mental health aspects of dealing with this type of rejection, and I recommend this podcast to all of my clients who have had this (unfortunately all too common) experience.”
Hosted by clinical psychologist Robert Duff, this podcast breaks down a number of topics relating to mental health without what Duff terms “psychobabble.” “He does an excellent job of making psychiatry accessible to the general public,” says Yusim. “I really love how open he is about his own life and story on his podcast.”
Psych Central’s award-winning podcast features conversations on a wide range of topics as seen through the lens of mental health, including historical events and their lasting impact, current collective happenings (think burn out and cancel culture), specific types of therapy, and much more.
“This podcast has over 300 episodes and is just fantastic!” says Bacow. “Episodes discuss compelling topics ranging from how trauma affects the brain, to coping with imposter syndrome and perfectionism, to cultivating friendships in adulthood, and speaks to the importance of mental health for all.”
Author of The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin talks all things active happiness, from daily tips and tricks to new routines to shifts in perspective. Topics include everything from how to fall asleep faster, how to create connections (and remember names), how to cope with regret, and much more.
Listening to talks about mental health is one thing—implementing daily practices is another. “For those of us who cannot sit still for too long, this podcast offers a microdosing in meditation,” says Appleton. “Each episode is perfect for 5 to 10 minutes of mediation, on-demand and when you need it most.”
If you’re feeling hopeless, please see professional medical support immediately. Dial 988 on any phone in the United States to be connected with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, where somebody is available to talk 24 hours a day.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.
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