The simple act of tuning in and listening can be a useful tool, both for finding community, managing your mind and reducing stress.

It’s not unusual to feel alone if you’re struggling with your mental health. So where do you turn? It isn’t always possible to call a friend, but you can feel the benefit of human connection and warmth from podcasts that delve effectively into the mental health arena. The content of podcasts dedicated to mental health varies, from raw conversations about diagnosed conditions, through the impact of societal imbalances to everyday breathing practices. Here’s a selection of five podcasts which have the potential to inspire you positively on your mental health journey. Oh, and hopefully also to greatly entertain you along the way!

1. Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast

In a generation that has seen a spike in anxiety, the questions remain: what is it, why does it happen, and how do we manage it? Bestselling Irish non-fiction author Caroline Foran shares her own lived experience with anxiety, providing a refreshing perspective, via-what is an impressively relaxed podcast! For the past three years, Foran and her guests have shared their varied tales, working to demystify anxiety and provide tips for improving life after diagnosis. Covering everything from relationships to people-pleasing, Foran is a source of support for those looking to take back some control.

2. Breathe with Niall

As a breathing instructor and author of The Blissful Breath, Niall Ó Murchú channels two decades of experience into his podcast on the importance of breathwork. Along with myriad guests, Ó Murchú shares simple techniques for alleviating stress and introducing calm into your daily life. Conscious breathing can help reduce chronic anxiety, allow you to feel more present and boost self-awareness. This informative podcast shows how something as simple as taking the time to exhale, or stepping into a cold shower in the morning, can have massively positive effects on your mental health.

3. Mental Illness Happy Hour

Host Paul Gilmartin establishes a safe space on his podcast for anyone who struggles with mental health issues, no matter how severe. Radiating acceptance, Gilmartin discusses troublesome, difficult topics with his guests, in an insightful and at times humorous way. Episodes explore everything from depression to autism, the effects of sexual assault, schizophrenia and PSTD. Sometimes you don’t know how to express what you feel inside – this podcast finds the words to talk freely about deep-rooted emotions. Hearing raw accounts of mental health struggles from real people aids in understanding yourself and the people around you.

4. Where Is My Mind?

From U2 to philosophers and psychologists, host Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin and his guests engage in touching conversations about the impact a fast-paced society can have on our mental health. Sprinkled with his classic wit, Breslin’s engrossing conversations address subjects many shy away from. Each episode in Season One is accompanied by a meditation you can implement in your daily routine, to ground yourself better in a world of chaos. From how to navigate a messy, ever-changing, society as a deep-feeling person, to learning to be kinder to yourself and others, Breslin’s podcast makes the world seem like an easier place to live in.

5. The Hilarious World of Depression

Depression isn’t necessarily something you can get rid of, but you can learn to live with it. Hosted by comedian and public radio broadcaster John Moe, this US-based comedy show about clinical depression invites genuine, funny and honest conversations that break down the stigma surrounding diagnosis. Along with guests such as Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Richter, and Jen Kirkman, Moe has created an easy place for concerned listeners to land. Moe brings people together to break the stigma around depression – inspiring listeners to feel a bit better, less isolated – and laugh along the way.

Read the full Hot Press Mental Health Special in our new issue, out now.

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