The Healing Power of Podcasts
The Healing Power of Podcasts
During these challenging times, as reported by the World Health Organization, nearly one billion people are grappling with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, isolation, and various other issues. Additionally, the post-pandemic shift, along with the stressors of everyday life, such as climate change and the increasing cost of living, further burdens us. To add to this complexity, we face individual needs, including managing relationships and work pressures. Given these realities, prioritising mental health becomes all the more crucial.
When podcasts were first created they weren’t made with the intention to “do good” and “help”, however, they have fast become a supportive environment and a resource for compassion, empathy, and a shared experience.
By default, podcasts have stepped into a personal role that can positively impact mental health and contribute to emotional well-being. The nature of how we consume podcasts means that they naturally act as a friend in someone’s ear. A familiar voice, a community to be part of. Podcasts are also incredibly easy to access, available to all, and easy to fit into daily routines. Here we share real experiences from Acast employees to illustrate their advantages to mental health:
Podcasts serve as an excellent, free resource for people seeking help from mental health professionals, therapists, and advocates. These podcasts offer coping strategies and knowledge about mental health conditions that may not be accessible otherwise. Amy Townley, International PR Director, shares:
“Podcasts have been a revelation in my life, connecting me with like-minded individuals who understand my journey, offering a sense of belonging and validation that I couldn't find elsewhere. Through DearNICUMama, I have access to a vast pool of knowledge and wisdom, generously shared by people willing to be vulnerable. These voices have become my companions and mentors.”
Personal stories and a supportive community impact listeners significantly. Hearing others' experiences reduces feelings of isolation and fosters emotional healing. Amy Pearce, Creative Strategist, explains:
"It is so important to talk about grief, and the light-hearted way that Cariad approaches it in Griefcast is so validating and refreshing because she acknowledges the fact that experiencing grief, as a whole, can be quite weird. It's super reassuring and a reminder that we are not alone when experiencing loss".
Comedy podcasts, one of the most popular genres, play a crucial role in improving mental well-being. Laughter is medicine, and for many, comedy podcasts offer escapism and relief from stress. Lizzy Pollott, SVP Marketing, Communications & Brand, shares:
“Comedy podcasts are escapism - a chance to switch off from the day-to-day. That's why I save my favourites for my falling asleep. In times of stress, or at the end of a whirlwind day getting distracted by Three Bean Salad's utter nonsense, or The Worst Idea Of All Time's warm humour is the ultimate mood-changer. I also firmly believe that shows like this are so popular as the sense of community the foster gives anyone who perhaps feels like a misfit at times, the perfect place to fit in with no judgement, and no effort.”
Podcasts serve as a valuable alternative to traditional media, offering a platform where personal and connection-driven stories, often filtered out by mainstream media, can find their place and resonate with a broader audience. Lorna Byrne, Group Business Director (UK), shares:
“Podcasts offer an unrivalled sense of connection and community by creating a safe space to explore subjects that aren’t talked about in traditional media. It’s an open forum for important conversations to be had and personal stories to be told with no filter or judgement. In my personal experience, shows such as ‘Owning It’ and ‘Power Hour’ have served almost as a form of therapy by offering helpful tips and tricks on how to improve my mental health and live a happier and more fulfilled life.”
Podcasts are a form of self-care, with many listeners considering their “podcast time” to be part of a strategy to look after themselves. Simon Franklin, Senior Digital Brand Marketing Manager, shares:
“Podcasts are “Me Time”. When the headphones are on, I’m in my little audio sanctuary where I can escape into the warmly familiar and utterly joyful world of Adam Buxton’s ramble chats or Therapy Gecko’s hilariously surreal call-ins. These listening hours are restorative, the perfect balm for unwinding after a tough day. And they’re also not bad at helping you through the grueling kilometres on a run, double the self-care.”
The evidence is clear, and it extends far beyond the perspective of Acast employees. In a recent research study conducted among regular podcast listeners in the UK and Ireland, the findings show that more than half of the respondents believe "podcasts help their mental health."
While we do not endorse podcasts as a substitute for seeking professional help, we firmly believe that they have a valuable role to play in wellbeing. We encourage all listeners, whether you're at the start of your journey or seeking ongoing inspiration, to explore the diverse world of podcasts, as you never know what you might discover by pressing play.