By Sanjana Idnani, Wellbeing Sub-Editor
The Croft Magazine // A new mental health podcast for students is being launched on Monday, 5 April. The first episode features Miz Cracker, well-known from RuPaul’s Drag Race, who will discuss anxiety with podcast host Michael and student Brian.
Your Amazing Mind is a podcast produced by the University of Bristol aiming to give students the tools they need to feel better more often. The podcast covers real life stories, with insightful guests and practical advice from experts. This will be especially helpful given the current circumstances as a recent poll found that 70 per cent of British students feel their mental health has suffered during the pandemic.
Each episode sees a student talk movingly about their experiences dealing with a particular issue, such as depression or body image. Then, that topic is discussed by the student, a special guest and podcast host Michael.
In the first episode, Miz highlights how she deals with her own anxiety with the host and deputy head of Bristol University’s counselling service, Michael Pearson, and a University of Bristol student called Brian.
She tells listeners: ‘Don’t punish yourself for not winning over your anxiety, not handling it right or not using all the tools in your kit correctly.
‘Just be like: we got dealt a blow today and that’s alright. It’s a battle that’s part of a larger war, so don’t take every defeat so seriously.
‘I remember in the sexual education that I received in sixth grade in public school. They said ‘you are going to get acne and might have some emotional difficulties from like 13 to 18.’ And so, I went from 13 to 18 with terrible acne and horrible anxiety and I was waiting for 18 to come for it to be over.
‘Well, now I’m anxious and I’m still using skin medication and I’m 36 – so I was lied to and I’m furious!’
Brian, who suffered from debilitating anxiety, also shares his experiences of dealing with it and how he was encouraged to reach out for help: ‘It was getting kind of desperate,’ he tells listeners. ‘I didn’t know what was wrong, but I just felt I couldn’t cope any more. It manifested, in the end, through me just becoming somebody else – I didn’t even recognise myself.
‘I started getting keen on writing poetry. So, I wrote a poem basically saying I wasn’t on my own – even though I live on my own – because I had demons for company.
‘I showed this to my best friend, and she said: ‘you need help’. I thought: ‘Okay I do’.
‘But it possibly took a year for that to happen. So, it was a long process, because accepting you’ve got a problem is difficult.’
On the importance of the podcast, the host, Michael, said: ‘This is one of the only podcasts in the UK to give students a platform to talk about their own experience of mental health issues. With the help of a different specialist each week, the podcast gives advice to students, young people and adults experiencing similar issues.
‘Your Amazing Mind will explore anxiety, body image, LGBTQ+ issues, marginalisation, bereavement and depression in a deep, relatable and honest way that normalises experiences and gives people lift at the same time.’
Featured image: Eric Magnussen