Going Mental hopes to paint a picture of mental health as a multi-dimensional topic that involves every aspect of our lives — and everyone, no matter how perfect or imperfect a person may seem. We want our listeners to feel empowered to embark on their own mental health journeys and learn from the experiences of others, whether that means taking their advice or questioning their perspective.
Our host, Eileen Kelly, created the show in 2021 after spending five months in psychiatric treatment at McLean Hospital. While there, she diagnosed with borderline personality disorder for the first time, despite having seen other psychiatrists for years. Though she was grateful to finally receive an accurate diagnosis, she was disappointed that it took entering a facility like McLean to find resources that genuinely helped her manage her mental health. Eileen left treatment looking for an accessible way to disseminate the kind of information she'd recieved from doctors and fellow patients, which is how Going Mental was born.
Going Mental takes a two-pronged approach to mental health awareness. On one hand, we aim to highlight doctors and other mental health experts, who debunk myths surrounding conditions like OCD, dissociative identity disorder (DID), and eating disorders. On another level, we illuminate the mental health journeys of a diverse range of public figures to show listeners that no one — even the most controversial people in our culture — is exempt from the impact of mental health concerns. Previous guests have included Dr. Jason Krompinger (Director of Psychological Services at the OCD Institute at McLean Hospital), DID advocate Ella, actress Camila Mendes, and former NAACP chapter leader Rachel Dolezal.
Guests like Dolezal, whose views we disagree with, present a unique challenge: How can Going Mental facilitate a valuable, educational conversation without promoting potentially harmful beliefs? Eileen strikes a balance between creating a safe space for guests to open up and challenging their views where beneficial to listeners. She lets them discuss their outlook on mental health without glamorizing or villifying them, only interrupting when their words move past any discernible connection to mental health-related topics. This allows listeners to draw their own conclusions and promotes constructive discourse on social media around various aspects of mental health. In occasional solo episodes, Eileen chats with listeners conversationally, inviting them to engage with her personal experiences around female friendships, therapy, and more.
In November 2022, Going Mental reached over 100,000 monthly downloads and 1.2 million all-time downloads. According to our 2022 Spotify Wrapped, we were in the top 1% of most-followed podcasts globally. More than the numbers, the comments, reviews, and messages we receive from listeners demonstrate that we're achieving what we set out to do.
Our current audience 90% female. That matters because we care about disseminating this information to the people we feel need it most: Young women. We see ourselves in our listeners and think more mental health-centric media needs to cater toward this demographic- historically, media has assumed young women don't want to engage with anything "serious" or "hard-hitting." We want Going Mental to continue to prove that stereotype wrong through a diverse mix of programming that's as entertaining as it is informative.