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December 29, 2018
McLean Hospital has launched its first-ever podcast—Mindful Things. This new audio series explores mental health through frank, in-depth, personal, and sometimes difficult conversations about the many things that affect our mental well-being.
“Mindful Things is a component of a larger public mental health initiative that Public Affairs is launching in 2019, with a focus on reducing stigma while also elevating McLean’s reputation as the go-to resource for accurate and up-to-date mental health information,” said Adriana Bobinchock, senior director of Public Affairs and Communications. “We’re very proud of this podcast and look forward to hearing the community’s feedback.”
Available via several platforms, including iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify, the series is hosted by Trevor Chamberlain, a former patient at McLean Hospital who is now a digital media specialist within the Public Affairs and Communications department. Chamberlain has also traveled the world as a documentary filmmaker, covering topics such as the protests at Standing Rock, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and the history of the banjo, produced by actor, author, comedian, and musician Steve Martin for PBS.
“I suspect that most people would be expecting a mental health professional to be hosting it, not necessarily someone with my career background or someone living with borderline personality disorder,” said Chamberlain. However, he added, that approach “is what makes us different.”
Chamberlain, who spends approximately 10 hours researching, preparing for, and producing each podcast, said he enjoys getting to know each guest and asking probing questions that he thinks listeners want to hear.
“Trevor comes to us with a documentarian’s mindset, so he is asking lots of great questions that I believe will really get people thinking,” said Scott O’Brien, director of Digital Strategy for McLean and executive producer of Mindful Things. “Instead of hearing what you would expect on a podcast about mental health, we’re digging deep with our guests and are getting great stories and insights from our experts that I don’t think other podcasts offer.”
The series will feature a wide variety of guests, including clinicians, advocates, and celebrities, and cover a wide variety of topics, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma, with virtually no subject being off limits.
Guests interviewed thus far include Jeff Fink and Leonard Su, MD. Fink is the founder of Go Fetch Wellness, an organization focused on helping people discover the benefits of service animals for those living with chronic mental health conditions. With his service dog, Earl, by his side, he recently visited the Mindful Things studio to discuss how incorporating a companion animal into your life can enhance your mental health treatment. Su, meanwhile, is a former vascular surgeon who was compelled to step away from the operating table to address his mental illness. He spoke with Chamberlain about the issues involved with discussing mental illness in the workplace and in other settings and his commitment to helping make it easier for others to be open about their mental health.
McLean Hospital mental health specialists will also frequent the Mindful Things studio. In a recent Mindful Things episode, McLean Hospital’s Mark Longsjo, LICSW, program director of the adult psychiatric programs at McLean SouthEast in Middleborough, Massachusetts, discussed ways to deal with holiday stress.
In early 2019, listeners will hear about a special project being worked on by Public Affairs in the Maine State Prison, with podcasts featuring the warden and corrections officers at the men’s maximum security prison discussing their own struggles with mental illness, most often PTSD.
Along with interviewing guests to get their unique perspectives, Chamberlain opens up about his own experience living with mental illness.
“It can sometimes be challenging, because this a forum where I encourage our guests to speak openly and sometimes we’re talking about subjects that can be very emotional,” said Chamberlain. “But I know that these are the topics that will resonate with our listeners, and I know what we are doing is meaningful and will have a positive impact on those who tune in.”
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