Mental health has long been a taboo topic. Luckily, that’s started to change, and for good reason. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans deal with a mental illness. While professional care is certainly the best place to turn for help with mental health, there are ways you can start helping yourself today. The tried-and-true advice of meditating, journaling, and exercising are all great places to start. But sometimes, you just need a fresh perspective. Here’s the good news: with the rising discussion of mental health has come an abundance of podcasts designed to help you help yourself. Whether you’re stressing over the current political climate or dealing with more personal demons, there are podcasts for mental health.
Check out the list below for a variety of podcasts to improve your mental health this year, complete with a recommended episode to get you hooked on each series.
For those looking to up their happiness quotient…. “Happier with Gretchen Rubin”
Gretchen Rubin is the author of no less than four NYT bestsellers, including The Happiness Project, which spent two years on the bestsellers list. In one of the best podcasts for mental health, Gretchen Rubin enlists her sister Elizabeth Craft as her “happiness guinea pig.” Combining cutting edge science about happiness with sage personal advice, Gretchen and Elizabeth go on a journey to find more happiness in their everyday lives and inspire you to do the same.
This episode will hook you: Ep 240: Use the Emergency Kit for Anxiety, Worry, and Stress
For the self-help obsessed… “By the Book”
Comedian Jolenta Greenburg has long been obsessed with self-improvement, but her friend Kristen Meinzer isn’t convinced that self-help books are all that helpful. This is the premise for their hilarious self-help review podcast, “By The Book.” In each episode, Jolenta and Kristen follow the wisdom instilled in one self-help book for two straight weeks. They tackle each book with honesty and humor, sharing what they learned about themselves in the process and whether they thought the book was actually helpful.
This episode will hook you: S4 Ep 1: Girl, Wash Your Face
For those looking to end the stigma… “Mental”
Bobby Temps started “Mental” to help destigmatize mental health issues. Each episode delves into a different aspect of mental health and how to better manage it, from OCD to insomnia. “Mental” breaks down the science behind mental health factors and features in-depth interviews with a variety of guests, proving that it’s more than okay to talk about mental illness. Bobby makes it easy to dive right in, as each episode covers a different condition or factor of mental health, you can start with any topic that speaks to you.
This episode will hook you: Imposter Syndrome— it was a constant feeling
For those looking for quick actionable tips… “Savvy Psychologist”
If you’re searching for a healthier emotional life, look no further than Dr. Jade Wu’s “Savvy Psychologist: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health.” This podcast presents psychology for the masses, breaking down evidence-based research into language we can all understand. In each episode, Dr. Wu explains what’s going on in our brains when we experience different emotions—joy, anger, resentment—and how to harness them to build better relationships with ourselves and others.
This episode will hook you: Ep 162: Why Can’t I Focus?
For those struggling to catch some zzz’s… “Nothing Much Happens”
If you’re one of many that struggle to fall asleep each night, try tuning in to “Nothing Much Happens,” a calming and magical bedtime story podcast. Host Kathryn Nicolai carefully crafts each story to get progressively more boring, allowing your stresses to melt away as you drift off to a story that really doesn’t matter. Each bedtime story is filled with beautiful small details and not much else. Better yet, the narrator’s calming voice reads the story twice, softer and slower for the second round to help you drift off.
This episode will hook you: The Windows Were Open
For those shaking with anxiety… “The Overwhelmed Brain”
Host Paul Colaianni was tired of hearing “just think positively!” and wanted to help others battle negative emotions with actionable advice. Enter “The Overwhelmed Brain,” a podcast for people looking to decrease stress and achieve more happiness without the fluff. Each episode focuses on strengthening a different facet of your emotional intelligence so that you can get closer to creating the life you want to live, minus the anxiety.
This episode will hook you: Self-Worth, Self-Esteem and Choosing to Handle Situations as the Child or the Adult
For those dealing with grief… “Terrible, Thanks for Asking”
Nora McInerny started this podcast in an effort to destigmatize the grief process. In 2014, Nora was dealt with a devastating series of blows. A miscarriage, the death of her father, and the death of her husband—all within several weeks. “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” delves into grief with honesty and humility. Nora speaks frankly about the pain we all experience at some point when facing a loss. Part funny, part sad, and entirely human, this podcast is here to help you through whatever it is you’re grieving.
This episode will hook you: Ep 15: Forever Alone? (Part 1)
For those looking for greater meaning… “On Being With Krista Tippett”
This Peabody Award-winning podcast is like an hour-long warm hug. Host Krista Tippet covers a vast range of topics. She shares the goal of examining the sheer wonder it is to be human. “On Being” slowly works to answer “how do we want to live our lives?” So, if you’re looking for a podcast to both soothe your soul and expand your mind, this is the one.
This episode will hook you: Brené Brown — Strong Back, Soft Front, Wild Heart
If you’re in need of more urgent help, you’re not alone. Contact the Crisis Text Line to chat with a trained Crisis Counselor from anywhere in the US. Or, check out mentalhealth.gov for more resources.