Talking about mental health on the radio

October 09, 2017
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The 25th anniversary World Mental Health Day is Oct. 10, 2017. This year’s theme is Mental Health in the Workplace.

Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, which is the leading cause of disability, defined as including both physical and mental impairments. More than 260 million live with anxiety disorders.

But many people are uncomfortable talking openly about mental health.

Radio can be a great way to reduce stigma, provide information and support, and give people a chance to share their experiences.

In Malawi and Tanzania, Farm Radio International worked with radio broadcasters, youth groups, schools, and health care providers to produce radio programs on mental health.

If you want to learn how to create an entertaining radio magazine about mental health, you might want to read about the show “Depression-free, life is cool” in Malawi: http://wire.farmradio.fm/en/spotlights/2015/07/spotlight-on-mental-health-program-depression-free-life-is-cool-12218.

Or you might want to try a different format, such as a radio soap opera. This program in Tanzania was a big hit among secondary students: http://wire.farmradio.fm/en/spotlights/2015/04/spotlight-on-bahati-hundreds-of-thumbs-up-for-new-mental-health-radio-soap-opera-11770.

Find out more about Farm Radio International’s Integrated Youth Mental Health project here: http://www.farmradio.org/portfolio/integrated-mental-health-in-malawi/

To get a sense of the impact of these radio programs, watch the trailer for a documentary called “Mental Health On Air,” created by CBC Ottawa journalist Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco: http://www.farmradio.org/ourblog/2015/09/15/press-release-mental-health-on-air-documentary-shares-story-of-how-radio-can-tackle-stigma-surrounding-mental-illness/

For further information, the World Health Organization provides a fact sheet on mental health in the workplace and background information about depression on its website:

And the World Federation for Mental Health has suggestions for actions individuals can take to mark World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10: https://www.wfmh.global/wmhd-2017/