Local podcast seeking to change conversation about mental health

Rick Milenthal, CEO of The Shipyard and host of the Voices of Resilience podcast

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Last year's inaugural WonderBus Music and Arts Festival​ sought to change the conversation about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Two of the event's partners — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and marketing company The Shipyard — have teamed up to produce a series of mental health podcasts to keep that conversation going.

"We started with WonderBus, the music festival," says Shipyard CEO Rick Milenthal. "We started that conversation, and this year, we decided we were going to do this podcast."

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Called "Voices of Resilience," the series is available on most podcast streaming platforms. In conversations with local business partners, event sponsors and artists performing at WonderBus, Milenthal found a common thread.

"One hundred percent, all of them, were dealing with critical mental health issues with a loved one, a child, a friend... this affects everyone in every station of life," he said.

Arianna Galligher, Associate Director of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's STAR Trauma Recovery Center and Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs, agrees.

"Mental health concerns impact everybody," she says. Especially during a global pandemic. "Folks that are perhaps already struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression or trauma are gonna be impacted even more."

"Any time change is kinda forced upon a person, it's going to add stress to their lives."

During a stressful time like this, people might feel like they have no place to turn for help.

"Being able to cope in the ways that we're used to really isn't available to many people right now," says Galligher. "You know, sometimes people go to the gym to blow off some steam, or they may spend time with friends and vent about their frustrations or they might take themselves to dinner at a restaurant, and those types of outlets for stress just aren't available in the same ways that we're used to."

As a result, many people are turning to technology to stay connected.

"Zoom and WebX and Google Hangouts and all of those platforms are wonderful, and it's certainly better than not having anything at all," she says.

That's why Milenthal wanted to host the podcasts, to keep the conversation going, especially with local influencers who can make a difference.

"When we talk about it, change is going to happen, both for us personally, and frankly, people that can help. Businesses and people of influence can get involved in this," Milenthal says.

"I think the more we can step up with the courage to talk about some of these things that, historically, have been a little bit taboo, the better equipped we're going to be to deploy some resources for coping," Galligher says.

The Voices of Resilience podcast covers a variety of mental health issues. It's available through Apple, Spotify and other podcast streaming services.

You can read more about it by reading The Shipyard's blog post. To learn more about the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center's STAR treatment program, click here.