Positive News Podcast aims to showcase mental health solutions

The Positive News Podcast is available on all podcast apps

UK-based Positive News has launched a podcast to tackle news avoidance. The publisher, which is structured as a community benefit society, says it aims to provide “uplifting journalism in audio format”.

The podcast’s first episode was released on 7 June, as part of a six-part series called Developing Mental Wealth, hosted by medical doctor Radha Modgil and journalist Seyi Rhode, who showcase stories of people working to support their local communities via practical wellbeing solutions.

The first episode tells the story of hairdressers in Ivory Coast, who are training as mental health ambassadors and offering accessible support to their clients in a country where mental illness remains taboo. Future episodes will look at a movement to empower neurodivergent people in Peru, climate cafes that are helping Africans manage eco-anxiety, and a unique form of therapy that’s helping to free women from gender-based violence in South Africa.

“We want to share the good news that matters,” said Sean Wood, CEO at Positive News. “And for the opening series of our podcast, we’re excited to bring to light these intriguing stories about how people in economically developing countries are responding to mental health needs.

“Our fantastic hosts, alongside our expert production partners at Crowd Network, have brought our ‘solutions journalism’ approach into the podcast format in a way that’s rigorous, accessible and makes for a really enjoyable listen.

“Plus, our amazing community of readers and supporters have been asking for a podcast for a while, so we’re really pleased to be launching our first one.”

The podcast aims to address news avoidance, since research shows that 41% of people in the UK actively avoid the news. It also builds on Positive News’ Developing Mental Wealth written series published earlier in the year. 

“I’ve spent over a decade travelling the world and immersing myself in communities who are experiencing social upheavals due to conflict, climate change and natural disasters,” said Seyi Rhodes. “One thing they have in common is their need to process grief, uncertainty and rapid change in ways that make sense to them. In presenting The Positive News Podcast, it’s been fascinating to be able to delve into some of the solutions people have come up with – often in response to challenges I have witnessed and reported on over the years.”

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“Our mental health and emotional wellbeing are the foundation for how we live, how we see the world around us, and how we interact with others,” said Dr Radha Modgil. “There’s so much more we need to do as a global society to ensure mental health is a priority. This inspiring series enables the voices of some incredible people, who are changing the narrative and practices around mental health in their communities, to be heard.

“The solutions they’ve found through innovation, determination and compassion are something to hold on to in these uncertain times. This series shows how big and impactful change often has its beginnings with individuals who have compassionately transformed their own personal trauma and challenge.”

The podcast was produced in collaboration with podcast production company Crowd Network and funded by the European Journalism Centre, through the Solutions Journalism Accelerator, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“As an admirer of Positive News’ journalism, it’s been a delight to collaborate with them on their first podcast, said Samantha Psyk, head of Crowd Stories. “We hope listeners will feel inspired and uplifted by these amazing stories brought to life through audio. Seyi and Radha are the perfect hosts to offer helpful and thoughtful insights, reflecting on what we can all learn from these innovative mental health solutions.”

The Positive News Podcast is available now on all podcast apps and episodes will be released each Friday from 7 June 2024.

UK general election coverage

With elections approaching, Positive News has also launched a More Power To You series through which it aims to uncover solutions to some of the major challenges facing politics and democracy today.

The first feature in the series looked at politicians’ wellbeing and why safeguarding it matters. The publisher is also asking readers to contribute their ideas for a future article on what needs to change to rebuild trust in, and engagement with, politics. Responses will be used to create a future article.

Other pieces currently in planning will include long-reads on potential solutions, such as an assessment of the bid to make deliberate deception by politicians a criminal offence, as well as more bitesize roundups on efforts globally to reinstate trust in politics and democracy.

“I was interested by the authors of the Mere Mortals report recommending that journalists and publishers approach political reporting and commentary from a constructive and solutions lens. This resonates with what we hear from readers,” said editor-in-chief, Lucy Purdy.

“I feel strongly, from what our audience tells us, that the appetite is growing for more constructively framed discussions about politics. They want to know what’s going right, and what could go right, rather than the media always falling back on the same predictable, adversarially framed formats. We’re excited to continue exploring this topic as 2024 continues,” she concluded.

This article was amended on 28 June to include information about Positive News’ General Election coverage and on 5 July to refer to Positive News as UK-based rather than London-based. The Positive News team works remotely.