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Podcast by teenagers encourages young to talk about mental health

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 February 2019

The Thrive teenagers' podcast is now available online. Photo: The Grand

The Thrive teenagers' podcast is now available online. Photo: The Grand

Archant

A new podcast put together by a group of teenagers in Gravesend is encouraging conversation about mental health issues.

It is called Thrive and is now available to listen to online.

As mental health issues in young people reach record levels and with the NHS having wait times of more than 18 months for counselling services, the podcast hopes to show others that they are not alone and that support is on hand.

The youngsters said the conversations recorded are energetic, insightful, poignant and funny.

They were put together by four young people aged between 15 and 18.

They host and feature in the show, talking about everything from what it is to be a young person, daily pressures, school and careers to social media, bullying, friendships and stress.

They said Thrive aims to break down barriers, discussing subjects they might never talk about openly.

Mason, 16, Princess, 18, Emma, 15 and Jamal, 15, are all from the town.

So far, they have recorded three episodes of the show together, with the aim of releasing more at a rate of 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.”

That Grand is the Grand Healthy Living Centre, King Street, Gravesend, which 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.

Jackie Coupar is the youth work manager at The Grand.

She 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.”

Kent County Council deputy director for oublic health, Allison Duggal, said: “We know that talking and sharing feelings and thoughts helps. 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.”

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.

Its 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.

It is part of the Time to Change social movement supported by a team of 60 people.

Thrive said: “Many of us have our own personal experience of mental health problems. We’re all passionate about challenging the negative attitudes that impact the lives of those experiencing mental health problems.”

Thrive is at https://anchor.fm/thegrand

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