All Things Mental Health

All Things Mental Health

A University of Oxford funded podcast discussing Mental Health in Young Minds. We focus on schooling, through to higher education, encouraging our audience to be curious about the mental health & wellbeing of young people during these chapters of change. Series 2 welcomes different topics of conversation from leading psychologists, policy makers, writers, activists, researchers & many more. Head back to Series 1 to hear us chat to students at the University of York about how their different interests and outlets help them to ground their mental health. This includes students working for mental health charities, all things arts from music to galleries, sports, global opportunities and lots more. This podcast is brought to you by Aneeska Sohal, the Presenter, who is a Trustee for the student mental health charity Student Minds, and a Masters student at the University of Oxford. Our Illustrator is Lizzie Knott, recent winner of a 2020 World Illustration Award. Our Editor is Saul Devlin, who works in Radio and is a Music & Sound Recording student. Head over to our Instagram for more @allthings.mentalhealth

All Episodes

(CW: sexual violence briefly mentioned in this episode) It was great to chat with the CEO of Fumble, Lucy Whitehouse, for the last episode of this series. Fumble is a sex education charity. They set out to make sure that young people have the skills and knowledge to successfully manage their sexual health. Aneeska and Lucy chat more about the interlink between sexual health and mental health. Tune in to hear more about Fumble’s peer to peer support, and how they set out to have young people at the heart of what they do. Fumble’s digital content and website platform is co-created by young people, keeping sexual health relevant and up to date with what young people are experiencing today. The charity set out to use the internet to promote a positive narrative of sexual health and wellbeing. Have a listen for more, and you can check out more about Fumble here:

Aug 8

29 min 23 sec

This week Addam Merali-Younger chats to us about the lack of representation in the student mental health sector, and how this creates a barrier.  Addam is training to be a counsellor and he also works in the wider student mental health sector with an interest in diversification. Addam explains how “you look at the whole sector and everything is based on research by quite a non-diverse audience, delivered by teachers who are non-diverse to a relatively non-diverse group”. Aneeska and Addam discuss how we can make the sector more inclusive, representative, and non-oppressive. Addam explores how “counselling should be able to be accessed by everyone so why should it not be delivered by everyone?” He powerfully explains the burden minority students face in trying to bring about change. “It’s all well and good having decolonisation work and anti-oppressive practices in name, but if the expectation is on the students to be a disruptor to try and feel a sense of more belonging, there is a need to recognise how emotionally and physically exhausting that is. But if the establishment actually did a bit more work in the first place, then people wouldn’t need to disrupt things in order to feel a sense of equity”. Check out the episode for more. 

Jul 11

32 min 8 sec

Great to have Dr Anna Colton with us this week. Anna is a clinical psychologist and she chatted to us about the importance of being honest about distress from a young age, helping young minds build a tolerance to deal with it. Anna discusses how the education system needs to change to help young people formulate a language to understand and label their distress. While this requires significant institutional change, on an individual note, Anna recommends that young people create an environment around them to help them deal with distress including, organising your life so you have protective factors around to help. Anna points out how “vulnerability attracts us to each other”, and it's a reason we enjoy the company of others because it makes them human, helping us to remember we are also human too. This in turn can help us all to not be frightened by our own vulnerability. Tune in for more. 

Jun 13

23 min 59 sec

Delighted to be joined by Dr Manuel Madriaga this week. Manny is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. His research interests are on the process of social exclusion and inclusion related to ‘race’, ethnicity, and disability. Aneeska and Manny discuss the need for multicultural, inclusive spaces on campuses amidst the white majority higher education space in the UK. Manny stresses the importance of engaging with the lived experiences of students of colour, to highlight that students aren’t empty vessels. Through shining a light on their stories and experiences, we can understand how each student is unique, and in turn, create educational spaces that stress the importance of unity in diversity. As Manny says, ‘you can’t cheer someone on if you don’t know them’. Give the episode a listen for more.

May 15

21 min 2 sec

This week it was a pleasure to have Michael Priestley with us. Michael is a PhD student based at Durham University and his research explores how higher education policies impact student wellbeing, with a particular focus on assessments and exams. Tune in to hear Michael discuss the importance of a cultural change around how we value and talk about assessments, issues around self-worth and examinations and the importance of co-production. Aneeska and Michael also share their own lived experiences as students working through assessments and examinations too.

May 1

21 min 17 sec

Delighted to have John de Pury, the Assistant Director of Policy at Universities UK, join us this week. Aneeska and John explore how our mental health and wellbeing underpins our success in relation to learning. John talks about how we all have and own this experience, and why we must pay sustained attention to it. Tune in to also hear about why a collective approach to student mental health can be such a powerful tool.

Apr 17

20 min 50 sec

This week Aneeska chats with Misha Clarke, a mindfulness and yoga teacher based in Oxford. Misha discusses the benefits of mindfulness for children, drawing off her experience of teaching students aged from 7-11. We are delighted to announce that Misha is offering a free meditation and yoga session for our listeners! Listen to the episode for all the info!

Apr 3

23 min 10 sec

To kick off Series 2, we are excited to have Natasha Devon with us. Natasha is a writer and activist. She is currently doing a Saturday Night LBC show. She tours schools, colleges & universities around the world, delivering talks as well as conducting research on mental health. In this episode, Aneeska chats to Natasha about the importance of navigating mental health from a young age. 

Mar 20

25 min 2 sec

For the last episode of this series, we have Tom Gulliver with us discussing the mental health benefits of music. Tom chats to us about all the music outlets he's been involved with at the University of York, including Band Soc, open mic nights at different colleges, as well as helping with tech at the Norman Rea Gallery through events such as A Multilingual Experience. Tom tracks his own journey as a musician with us, from being a part of the band Kräken, dealing with the anxieties of performing, to developing his own record label Lucky Boy Records. Tom chats about the mental health benefits of songwriting as a creative outlet, in particular how powerful it can be when songs resonate with the audience, helping them with their mental health too. We also discuss the power of the positive energy that arises from people coming together through music. 

May 2020

16 min 23 sec

(CW: eating disorders) This week we chat to Issy Tee and Lydia Jones about the work they are doing for BEAT, the UK's eating disorder charity. Issy, a young ambassador for BEAT, discusses the different ways the charity support those with eating disorders, as well as how they look out for those who are supporting others with eating disorders too. Lydia, the former vice president of the BEAT Society at York, tells us all about the great activities they have been running, offering a variety of fun sessions, as well as a platform to build friendships. The pair chat about the importance of breaking the taboo around eating disorders through stressing how its a facet of mental illness. They also discuss what they do day-to-day for their own self care, such as exercising and gratitude journals, which are tips and tricks that they have also shared with each other. 

May 2020

9 min 43 sec

Tune in to hear from Becky Metcalfe this week who chats to us about how dance has been a consistent and great outlet for her since she was little, really helping her ground her mental health. We discuss her evolution as a dancer, and Aneeska shares her experience as a dancer too. The pair share anecdotes, discuss the challenges of performing, as well as how to take in criticism. They chat through similar experiences where they have learnt from fellow dancers, discussing the benefits of dancers of different abilities working collectively, helping each other improve and learning from one another along the way. 

May 2020

13 min 37 sec

This week we chat to Sonya Sandhu about the mental health benefits of playing football. Sonya discusses how university sports teams are breaking the taboo surrounding mental health and sports by appointing welfare officers, with teams starting to take mental health just as seriously as physical health. She tracks her own mental health journey with us, discussing the well-being benefits of being a part of a sports team, as well as how she has become more aware about her own mental health over the years. 

Apr 2020

12 min 57 sec

Aneeska chats to her Multilingual Experience executive committee, Chris Oldnall and Laura Burke. The initiative raises awareness about global issues through evenings of live performances from musicians, poets and speakers. The team discuss how their initiative has evolved over the years, raising money for charities such as Think Equal, Human Rights Watch and Student Minds. Chris and Laura talk to us about the mental health benefits of working in a collaborative team, and the creative license of such projects. They also chat to us about the well-being benefits for those who attend the events too. Head over to @multilingualexp on Instagram for more. CW: Sexual violence is mentioned briefly as the team wanted to raise awareness about global cases for their first event, working with Think Equal to empower grassroots change. 

Apr 2020

19 min 4 sec

Hear from Jacob Lindley this week who chats to us about his experience working at Harrogate Hospital Radio. Jacob tells us about how the station are looking after the well-being of patients. This includes popping round to the different wards and taking song recommendations. Jacob talks to us about how this really helps to brighten up the patient's day. He also reflects on how the whole experience has helped him with his mental health too. 

Apr 2020

8 min 57 sec

This week Amber and Fahmida discuss travel and mental health with us. Amber tells us all about her experience with Dil Internship Project in Pakistan, an initiative which provides opportunities for students to intern in Pakistani companies. Fahmida chats to us about her time in India as part of the University of York's Global Opportunities Programme, as well as her solo travel trip to Berlin. We openly discuss the mental health benefits of travelling, the challenges, and what you can really achieve once you jump out of your comfort zone. 

Apr 2020

12 min 7 sec

We chatted to the former director of the Norman Rea Gallery, Grace Frazer. Grace discusses how working at the gallery has really helped her with her mental health, giving her a platform to really develop her skills & passions. She gives us a behind the scenes take on the gallery, discussing exhibitions, and the collaborative nature of the team.

Apr 2020

10 min 31 sec

Tune in to hear from the University of York students Aneeska Sohal, Chris Oldnall, Danny Bowman and Laura Burke, who volunteer for the student mental health charity Student Minds. Have a listen to hear about how the charity are helping students across the country through a big mobilisation project, the 'Leaders Movement', unifying the fight through a powerful collective student voice. The group openly discuss the struggles students face when coming to university from isolation, degree pressures, social exhaustion and lots more. This episode includes an honest account from the students discussing how they have geared their own mental health struggles and awareness towards helping their fellow student community. 

Mar 2020

18 min 54 sec