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Our Sick Society

How do changes in society affect our mental health? Contrary to the prevailing narrative that mental ill health is down to individual resilience, our podcast series explores how the current so-called “epidemic” of mental ill health is caused and made worse by societal factors.

Each episode, we hear from individuals in marginalised communities who have experienced mental ill health, giving them the opportunity to describe how specific social aspects have impacted their life and experiences.

Topics will include the impact of Covid-19 control measures on mental health; navigating complex work, welfare and housing systems in place across the UK; and experiences of refugees seeking mental health support.

The project has been funded by  King’s College London’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

Listen now

You can listen to our podcast on Soundcloud via the player below. 

Episode Information

Summer 2020 has been an extraordinary time, with life as we knew it being turned upside down by Covid-19. For many of us, Covid-19 has become a lens through which the impact huge social changes can have on mental health has been magnified, particularly for people in certain communities. In this episode, we speak to individuals who have been directly affected by Covid-19, either through contracting the virus itself or by being forced to self-isolate without access to mental health services and support. We also hear from researchers who are trying to better understand the impact Covid-19 is having on marginalised communities, and solutions that emerge from their important work. Thank you to our guests for contributing to this episode: Pearl; Tia-Mariah; Michael Afram; Charlotte Gayer-Anderson; Professor Alison Park, ESRC; Professor Craig Morgan, Centre for Society and Mental Health; Professor Stephani Hatch, Centre for Society and Mental Health. Episode 1 was hosted by Dr Sally Marlow, King’s College London.

CSMH Covid-19 and mental health research

The second episode of Our Sick Society podcast was produced in collaboration with Black Thrive. In this episode, members of Black Thrive and researchers at the IoPPN and the Centre for Society and Mental Health talk about how Britain’s long history of systemic and institutional racism continues to affect how all of us think and live today; ways that COVID has highlighted how racism impacts racial inequalities in health; and the importance of documenting experiences both within and across Black communities. We also discuss relevant research and evidence from South East London and Black Thrives’ work on employment and long-term health conditions. Finally, we consider how research can perpetuate racial inequalities, and what panel members think needs to happen to prevent this. Thank you to our guests for contributing to this episode: Lela Kogbara, Celestin Okoroji, Catherine Crawford and Yasmin Ibison from Black Thrive; and Sarah Dorrington from the IoPPN, King’s College London. Episode 1 was hosted by Charlotte Woodhead, CSMH King’s College London. Production support provided by Verity Buckley. The producer was Buddy Peace. Our Sick Society is a King’s College London initiative and was funded by King’s College London’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

Black Thrive is a partnership between communities, statutory, voluntary, and private sector organisations, who work together to reduce inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services. Click here to visit their website.

There is a reason many podcasts are so successful. For those making podcasts it's cheap, easy and an immediate way to capture a thought, an idea, a discussion. For those who listen, podcasts offer access to those thoughts and ideas in a way that is intimate and personal, delivered in manageable chunks of time which fit in with busy lifestyles. Alongside this success has come a proliferation of podcasts on every conceivable topic, using a wide variety of formats, and nowhere is this more evident than in the area of mental health. However, not all podcasts are engaging and effective. In this episode, launched as part of the ESRC Festival for Social Sciences, we use a podcast to explore podcasting itself, asking an interdisciplinary panel how the medium lends itself to exploring matters of mental health, society and medicine. The podcast will be hosted on King's College London's Our Sick Society platform, and take the shape of a panel discussion, lasting around 45 minutes. It will be chaired by Sally Marlow, Engagement and Impact Fellow at King's, and BBC radio broadcaster specializing in mental health. Panel members will include academics at early, mid and senior career levels who are already podcasting in this space, from podcasts such as Plugged In about digital mental health, and the Beyond the Hype podcast, which explores young people's experiences of mental health and health services. From the Our Sick Society collaboration, professional podcast producer Buddy Peace, Expert by Experience Lavinia Black, and Impact Projects Manager Verity Buckley will take part. We'll explore the components of a successful podcast, as well as how to make sure podcasts are impactful and reach the audiences they are intended for. We will cover the challenges of producing podcasts which cover complex issues and seek to present evidence to a lay audience.

The ESRC Festival for Social Sciences is an annual, weeklong series of engagement events held across the UK, which celebrate research that helps us understand and shape the society we live in. Click here for information about this year’s Festival, which is running virtually until the 15th November.

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