Guest post from Al Levin
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been observed every May since 1949, is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses.
Since the COVID pandemic has reared its ugly head in December of 2019, recognizing and gaining a better understanding of mental illness has never been as important as it is today. It’s few and far between who have not been impacted in one way or another due to the pandemic. Families have dealt with their own illnesses or even the death of a family member or relative, jobs have been lost or completely changed. Schools have been turned upside down, having to create options such as distance learning which has required students, educators, and families to figure out ways to navigate the new systems. Educators are dealing with students who have struggled with trauma and have not been in school for two or more years.
Many health care workers on the front lines have been watching hundreds of people die a lonely death, and mental health workers have been completely overwhelmed. These are just some of the trauma that so many have experienced in the past two years or so.
It is so important that we educate ourselves about mental illnesses and that we continue to normalize conversations around mental health and mental illnesses. The more we are able to engage in conversations, talk about our own experience, share that we’re seeing a psychologist or taking medications for our mental health, the more we can minimize the stigma. The stigma is dangerous. The stigma around mental illnesses sometimes causes discrimination in work places and often prevents people from reaching out for the help they need. Minimizing the stigma, I believe, would help to alleviate the shame that often comes with a mental illness.
The podcast that I created, produce and host does that; it aims to minimize the stigma by sharing stories and educating. The podcast is called The Depression Files. It’s been up and running for over four years and contains more than one hundred episodes and has had more than 87,000 downloads. I hope that you will take a listen if you haven’t yet had the chance. Once you listen, I’m hoping that you will take a moment to rate and review the show, as this will help me grow a larger following and, in the end, have a greater impact on chipping away at the stigma.
I would like to thank Podbean for being an incredible platform to host my show. Even on the most basic of plans (starting at $9 a month), I have unlimited audio and access to beautiful templates for a slick website for my show. Their customer service team is stellar. They helped make sure that everything was set up properly from the get-go and have been very responsive and helpful anytime that I’ve had questions. I’d highly recommend checking out Podbean if you’re thinking of starting a podcast or if you’re on the search for a new platform.
Please help spread the word that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Please check out The Depression Files and some additional selected podcasts on the topic of mental health on the Podbean app or online using the links below.
Recommended Mental Health Podcasts
You can find the podcasts featured in the Podbean app and online here to listen and learn anytime, anywhere.
If you don’t already have the Podbean app, download it for free in the App Store or Google Play store. It’s the best way to listen and discover new podcasts you’ll love, with recommendations of hot topics plus personalized recommendations based on what you listen to most. You can also listen to these podcasts online here.
About the Author
Al Levin is an assistant principal at a PreK-8 school in Saint Paul Public Schools. He has been in education for over twenty years, the past fifteen years as an administrator. He is married, has four children…and two dogs.
Al has completed all of the coursework in working towards a Co-Active coaching certificate through the Coaches Training Institute and is certified in Cognitive Coaching. The coaching work has allowed him to support the staff he works with in the public schools, as well as others who are seeking support in reaching their goals or working past challenging times in their lives.
Al is also a person who has recovered from two major bouts of depressive disorder, one of which was quite debilitating for nearly six months of his life. Through this experience, he has become very passionate about learning more about mental health and supporting others with a mental illness, particularly men with depression. In addition to a blog, Al has a podcast in which he interviews men who have struggled with depression and/or other mental illnesses and has expanded to include “deep dive” conversations with guest experts on various topics of mental health. Both his blog and podcast can be found at TheDepressionFiles.com. Al also speaks publicly for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and, more often, on his own. He currently serves in a governor-appointed position on the Minnesota State Advisory Council on Mental Health and also the State Suicide Prevention Task Force.
Al has been published in The Mighty, The Huffington Post, Psych Central, The Recovery Letters, Made for More, and was featured in Esperanza Magazine. You will find Al Tweeting @allevin18 and can contact him at email@example.com.