Everyone knows someone who has suffered with their mental health. You may not yet know you know someone who has, but you do. You may suffer yourself. Again, you may not really know you suffer. It’s all very complicated, so says the creator/host of The Mental Podcast, comedian Ian Boldsworth. He’s the co-creator of The Parapod, the funniest podcast I’ve ever listened to, but his newest offering isn’t really a “laff-riot”. That’s not to say there aren’t laughs, just that they come between in-depth, often heavy-going discussions about mental health, depression, anxiety, treatment, etc. I’m not explaining it very well. As I said, it’s complicated. But it’s also very important and potentially life-saving. The Mental Podcast takes the form of a very frank narration from Ian interspersed with interviews with people who have – in one way or another – been touched by mental health issues, including Michael Pennington (aka Johnny Vegas), Richard Herring, Jo Murray and a handful of others. Their honesty and openness is so refreshing and a revealing mosaic is built that helped me better understand my own struggles.
Nothing I write will do the show justice: it’s something you have to experience for yourself. It’s also not for everyone. There are discussions about suicide and other traumatic experiences that some listeners may find too much to handle. But if you feel strong enough I urge you to listen. Allow yourself an hour to sit and listen, to take it in free of distractions. I found The Mental Podcast to be an incredibly positive experience, hugely relatable and very, very encouraging. It made me feel better about things to hear others talk about going through things I’ve gone through myself. The contributors are fantastic and Ian Boldsworth shows, instantly, that he’s much more than just a naughty boy (but of course we knew that).
This is a dreadful write up for the podcast, but it really is complicated. Mental health and discussion around it is something that varies in weight from person to person. This podcast may fall flat for some, or be hitting far too close to home for others. For me, and many others who have praised the series as a helpful and positive masterpiece, it was just what I have always wanted: a no-punches-pulled, open and honest exploration of a topic that is incredibly close to my heart, for many reasons. I cannot recommend The Mental Podcast highly enough.