Photo by Samuel Rios on Unsplash

By Leah Harris

Writer Anna Borges once referred to mental health podcasts as self-care, and we couldn’t agree more. Podcasts have so many benefits as a self-care strategy. According to a recent report in the Economic Times, podcasts have surged in popularity during the Covid pandemic because more people are looking to take breaks from screens in an age of Zoom fatigue. 

Podcasts have so many benefits. First, they are relatively accessible. While there are paid subscription podcast services, many podcasts are free to anyone with a smartphone. And thanks to advocacy by the deaf community, more podcasts are choosing to publish transcripts, and are creating innovations such as gorgeous immersive transcripts

Podcasts can help us to feel like we’re not alone; there’s someone talking to us, or we get to safely eavesdrop on a fascinating conversation between two or more folks. And many people, including this writer, swear by listening to relaxing podcasts to help them to manage bedtime anxiety and drift off to sleep

Here’s a little roundup of new and old favorites, including PEERS staff picks, that can be incorporated alongside your daily wellness practices.

  • Balanced Black Girl Podcast is a “safe space for conversations about joy, holistic wellness, and self-improvement from the perspectives of Black women. Every other week on the podcast we feature Black women health and wellness experts to gain inspiration from their personal stories and to learn ways we can apply their expertise to our daily lives.” Recommended by PEERS TAY Program Coordinator Nia Thompson.
  • Black Girl In Om: “From words of affirmation to set the tone of your week, guided meditations supporting you in keeping calm, to transparent conversations with movers and shakers in relevant industries—we’re giving us life! We’re here to unapologetically expand the consciousness of Black women to transform. Period.” Recommended by PEERS TAY Program Coordinator Nia Thompson.
  • The Black Mental Wellness Lounge: “A hub for Black mental health resources, supports, conversations, and advocacy! We’ll be addressing all things Black mental health from trauma healing, self-care care, racism and discrimination, and therapy.” This YouTube channel is hosted by Brandon J. Johnson, M.H.S, a subject matter expert in mental health. 
  • Committable: “Committable is a podcast about involuntary commitments. We focus on stories from people with lived experience as a window into complex conversations with attorneys, physicians, psychologists and more.” Hosted by Jesse Mangan.
  • Dear Asian Americans: Created by and for Asian Americans, this podcast focuses on “authentic storytelling rooted in origin, identity, and legacy.” Hosted by Jerry Won, DAA features “guests from diverse backgrounds and career paths to celebrate, support, and inspire the Asian American community.”
  • Griefcast: A podcast from the UK that “examines the human experience of grief and death – but with comedians, so it’s cheerier than it sounds.” Griefcast’s host Cariad Lloyd interviews a different funny guest weekly on topics related to “pain, loss and the weirdness that happens when someone dies.”
  • The Latinx Mental Health Podcast: This podcast brings together therapists, researchers, artists, activists, and students to discuss their experiences “in the intersections of mental health and Latinx identity.” Interviews serve to “connect through our voices, our struggles, and our triumphs as we sample a different herbal tea just like abuela used to make.”
  • Modern Love: “Hosts Daniel Jones and Miya Lee explore the complicated love lives of real people through conversation and storytelling, based on the weekly New York Times column.” Recommended by PEERS TAY Program Coordinator Nia Thompson, who particularly recommends episodes from 2015 – June 2020.
  • Neurodivergent Rebel: Lyric’s YouTube channel discusses a range of topics relating to autism and neurodivergence including discovering that they were autistic in adulthood, and provides an affirming, holistic, LGBTQ+ perspective on living and thriving while neurodivergent.
  • Small Doses with Amanda Seales: “Your favorite truth teller, comedian, Amanda Seales, is dropping gems with, ‘Small Doses,’ a weekly podcast that brings you potent truths for everyday use.” Recommended by PEERS TAY Program Coordinator Nia Thompson.
  • The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a “weekly chat about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.” Recommended by PEERS TAY Program Coordinator Nia Thompson.
  • Unapologetically Black Unicorn: “Have you ever chatted with an Unapologetically Black Unicorn? Someone who symbolizes freedom, power, strength and is a true force of nature and thought, ‘WOW people need to hear this’? Now you can and learn how to be a U.B.U. too! Join the weekly conversation with host Keris Jän Myrick, an unapologetically black unicorn in their own right, and nationally recognized mental health advocate chatting with amazing U.B.U. folk who are advancing all things mental health, racial justice, and anything cool to enhance human existence.”

We hope this roundup of podcasts will equip you with support, ideas, and skills for these challenging times.

Further resources: 

Leah Harris is a non-binary, queer, neurodivergent, disabled Jewish writer, facilitator, and organizer working in the service of truth-telling, justice-doing, and liberation. They’ve had work published in the New York Times, CNN, and Pacific Standard. You can learn more about their work at their website and follow them on Instagram.