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Mental Health Mondays podcast brings local resources to the forefront

PARK CITY, Utah. – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but mental health awareness is year-round for Communities That Care (CTC), a local non-profit organization prioritizing substance use and suicide prevention for kids, families, and individuals. The Mental Health Mondays podcast (#preventioniskey) hosted by Jessica Overson is produced by CTC and comes in audio, video, and blog formats in English and Spanish.

The podcast hit the internet four years ago at the behest of Oveson and CTC Executive Director Mary Christa Smith. Oveson chats on the podcast with leaders and do-ers in the community to address prevention and education in an unintimidating, accessible way.

“We said there’s such a need for mental health, especially with our youth, but also with the parents,” said Oveson. “It’s a subject that people don’t commonly discuss; it’s not a comfortable topic, not a fun topic. So, we launched the podcast before COVID. We’ve seen a lot of people not only tune in but be willing to share resources. We always say it takes a village. We have such an amazing community here in Park City. But a lot of times, people get segregated, and they feel like they’re alone. So, we wanted people to feel connected, to know that there are such amazing resources, and you’re not alone. Everyone deals with their struggles with mental health, whether it’s on a small or large scale.”

Mental Health Mondays (#preventioniskey) discusses these sometimes uncomfortable but helpful topics to create a safe space to feel less alone and highlight resources for community members.

Oveson speaks with community leaders, healthcare providers, and movers and shakers in the community.

“We promote events going on that discuss mental health. For example, we have youth discussion panels where our youth come in, and they have discussions about what’s going on not only in their schools, but in their lives, or sports, and in their own small communities.”

CTC promotes prevention through participation in events, fairs, meditations, courses, and programs to help people focus on the preventative side of health, wellness, and longevity for youth and families. CTC with Mental Health Mondays (#preventioniskey) is a platform for resources in the community that otherwise may not have been heard of before.

“Just talking about ways that people can improve their mental health. We’re seeing the statistics improve from suicide, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, we’re seeing all of those numbers and markers improved over the last four years.”

“That’s really my goal behind the scenes is to help reduce the risk of substance use suicide, drug abuse, and help individual both youth and families have resources like talking points, and how to help their kids prevent getting into situations like that, and how to support their peers in those situations.”

With over four years of episodes to dive into, Oveson recommends scrolling back to some oldies-but-goodies like the episode with Meaghan Miller of EATS, Heather Sims of Youth Sports Alliance, and Jennifer Mulholland with Plenty. Upcoming episodes will feature Mountain Town Music’s Executive Director Brian Richards, TownLift.com’s very own Brian Gulotta, and a refresh episode with CTC’s Mary Christa Smith. She jokingly asks listeners to be kind and know that she grew into her podcasting shoes.

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