A new podcast focusing on students’ mental health will launch in fabulous fashion next week.
Your Amazing Mind, produced by the University of Bristol, is set to welcome Miz Cracker, runner-up on season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, for its first episode on 5 April.
Hosted by Michael Pearson, deputy head of the university’s counselling service, each episode of the podcast will see a specific issue discussed by a student and a special guest.
Depression and body image will be among the subjects covered later in the series, which launches as a series of polls underline the impact the pandemic has had on students’ mental health.
First up for discussion is anxiety.
“Don’t punish yourself for not winning over your anxiety, not handling it right or not using all the tools in your kit correctly,” Cracker tells listeners.
“Just be like: we got dealt a blow today and that’s alright,” adds the writer and comedian. “It’s a battle that’s part of a larger war, so don’t take every defeat so seriously.”
Also featuring in the inaugural episode is Brian, a Bristol university student who endured crippling anxiety.
“It was getting kind of desperate,” he says. “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.”
“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,” says Pearson.
“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.”