I've never listened to a show quite like The Mental Illness Happy Hour before. It's refreshing to hear no holds barred, frank conversations about such topics as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, self-esteem, and anything else you can think of that's mental illness related. Often the conversations will span the spectrum from super serious to downright hilarious. As the host is a comedian, and many of the guests are comedians, there's a large amount of humor thrown at pretty serious topics.
Whether or not you have any interest in mental health issues, The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast is high on my list of recommendations for just being a great show. The show is hosted by Paul Gilmartin. You may know him from TBS's Dinner and a Movie or his appearances on Comedy Central, MTV, HBO, or VH1. I didn't know him from any of these things because I've seen about 20 minutes of television in the last decade. I found him through searching "mental health" in the iTunes store podcast directory.
What I find most incredible is the level of sheer honesty. Paul is completely open about his struggles with depression, medication, and life in general, and somehow he manages to bring out that same level of honesty with his guests. I really get the feeling from listening that I'm not alone in all of the craziness that runs through my head. Just like with your favorite television shows, the personalities on podcasts almost become friends, and those "friends" become a source of comfort.
In addition to the podcast, there is also a website (mentalpod.com) with mental health information, surveys, and a blog. The website also has a forum with several thousand members where anyone can be a part of the conversation. I've found it to be a very welcoming place to chat and commiserate with others that are going through some of the same challenges that I am going through. It has been wonderful to talk with others about their problems, and to hear their feedback on my own situation. It has helped me not feel so isolated, and to cope with some of the feelings and challenges I've been experiencing of late.
I've always been grateful for podcasts, as they've been a great source of knowledge and entertainment for me over the years. I'm particularly grateful at the moment for The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, and more so, I'm grateful for Paul Gilmartin for creating a community around mental health issues and doing incredible work to reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues.