Teenagers in Gravesend are launching a new podcast this week for ‘Time To Talk’ Day – the national campaign encouraging conversation around mental health.
Called ‘Thrive’, the podcast will be available to listen to online from the morning of Thursday 7 February and hopes to show others that they are not alone and that support is on hand with conversations that are energetic, insightful, poignant and funny.
Four young people, aged 15 to 19-years-old, host and feature in the show, talking about everything from what it is to be a young person in 2019, including the daily pressures they face, school and careers, social media, bullying, friendships and stress. The podcast aims to break down barriers and discuss subjects they might never talk about openly.
Mason aged 16, Princess aged 18 and 15-year-olds Emma and Jamal, who are all from Gravesham, have now recorded three episodes of the show together, with the aim to release one a month. Mason said: “We regularly discuss a range of different issues that affect young people when we meet at The Grand, so it seemed a natural fit to put it online as a podcast. We cover some difficult topics but we laugh a lot too. We want to normalise those awkward and embarrassing conversations which many of us may feel shy to approach, and hopefully help to break down the stigma surrounding these issues.”
The Grand Healthy Living Centre in Gravesend has assisted the young podcasters to produce the show, working with locally based media professionals who will teach the group the technical skills needed to record and edit the discussions. The long-term goal is that the group will run every element of the production.
Youth workers at The Grand have conversations with young people every day about the challenges they are facing. The new podcast allows every young person in the borough to hear from their friends and their peers, to get advice, hear opinions and know that support is on hand from the youth team in the borough.
Jackie Coupar, Youth Work Manager at The Grand, said: “We want to reach any young person who feels isolated, is struggling with life or just wants to hear the views of their friends and peers. It deals with the real things kids are facing these days. It’s frank, it’s funny, it’s refreshing and importantly, it lets our young people know that there are services available locally to help them.
“We work face-to-face with hundreds of young people, but we know there are thousands more in Gravesham who don’t access the advice on offer. Having a podcast means that anyone can listen at any time of day – in the privacy of their own home or on the bus to school.”
The Grand’s youth service, called Gifted Young Generation, offers young people a peer-to-peer support group, a professional counselling service as well as a wide range of creative workshops, which see young people grow in confidence, learn new skills and make new friends. Thrive podcast is available to listen to online at: https://anchor.fm/thegrand
KCC Deputy Director for Public health, Allison Duggal said: “We know that talking and sharing feelings and thoughts help. It can also be the first step to accessing professional support if it is needed. At the same time, we know that talking and sharing is hard so we have provided lots of useful information, videos, access to training and information on services on the Kent Resilience Hub at www.headstartkent.org.uk
“These resources help young people, parents, carers and workers start that conversation by recognising all the strengths in a young person’s life which are contributing to their resilience, their wellbeing and are helping them to cope and thrive even when things are tough.”
KCC commissions community mental health support services for adults through Live Well Kent which is run by charities Porchlight and Shaw Trust. More information can be found at www.livewellkent.org.uk
It is also reminding residents of its ‘Release the Pressure’ helpline this Time to Talk day – call free on 0800 107 0160 where support is available from trained and experienced staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The campaign website www.releasethepressure.uk also includes case studies from people in Kent who have turned their lives around after attempting suicide.