‘Mind if we Chat’ podcast aims to spark conversations about mental health

'Mind if we Chat' podcast aims to spark conversations about mental health
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‘Mind if we Chat’ podcast aims to spark conversations about mental health – A new podcast, “Mind if we Chat,” started by two Chicagoland natives aims to spark conversations about topics like suicide, depression, child abuse and other mental-health topics that are often stigmatized.

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So far, the podcast’s four episodes have seen hosts Sarah Garcia-Mares and Tommy Talley tackle suicide awareness and mental health in Hispanic culture. An episode also saw listeners submit questions into the show to be answered by a licensed clinical social worker and a mental health counseling graduate student.

Garcia-Mares said they hope those kinds of conversations will help people become more comfortable with discussing what they’ve gone through and get the help they need.

“A lot of the topics we are going to touch on are things people are choosing to hide or feel like they have to hide and for us, I feel like we’re trying to give people the opportunity to see that it’s okay to talk about these things, it’s not bad,” she said. “And if you have two people who are vulnerable enough to do that, especially when a lot of our listeners are around our age, I think it’ll help them realize it’s okay to feel this way and it’s okay to talk about it.”

The podcast came out of a passion for mental health in the backdrop of their own mental health struggles. Tolley said he had a rough childhood and at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he went through a depression that has been ongoing since. Those experiences have made him realize how important mental health and well-being is, inspiring him to start a blog and a book.

“It made me realize how I want to share my story with the world and I want to help kids,” he said. “I want to start a foundation for children who suffered from the same things I did: child abuse, parents who had drug and alcohol addictions.”

Garcia-Mares has suffered from anxiety her whole life but wasn’t diagnosed until she was a teenager, she said. She also struggles with mild depression. Her passion for mental health is also informed by her job as a parent educator.

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“I get to work with families and some of what I’ve experienced is my families go through things and have mental illnesses and I’m able to help them address those things by finding the resources they may need,” she said. “For me the passion I have to see people thrive fuels me.”

Listeners have been responding positively, reaching out to both of the hosts. Tolley was able to provide resources to one woman who reached out about her daughter’s struggles. Old teachers of his have also reached out to him, opening up their mental health.

“People respond well when you’re being genuine and I guess people feel that we are being genuine,” he said. “We aren’t trying to get in people’s business but we’re just trying to help and create that safe space.”

Their work on the podcast has also impacted relationships Garcia-Mares has with family members.

“I’ve had relatives of mine say to me like ‘I didn’t know you felt this way’ so they are learning things about me through this and saying ‘I’ve been through similar things you’ve been talking about; you want to talk about it?’” It’s kind of like segued relationships I already have with people to be more comfortable with me.”

Their podcast can be found on all major streaming platforms, including on Apple Podcasts. For more information visit their Facebook page at ‘Mind if we Chat.’ On Saturday, they are hosting their first annual suicide prevention walk at 11200 S. Ave E Chicago, IL 60617 starting at 9:30 a.m.

‘Mind if we Chat’ podcast aims to spark conversations about mental health

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