Sign up for our newsletter


Improving mental health for kids and teens through the power of the podcast

Michigan Radio Senior producer Rachel Ishikawa (left), Community High School student reporters Leah Dewey and Jordan de Padova interview teens at a Black Lives Matter protest. Photo credit: Emma Winowiecki, Michigan Radio

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an alarming 32 percent of American teens between the ages of 13 and 18 have an anxiety disorder at some point. To address and improve this statistic, The Children’s Foundation continues to prioritize funding programs and solutions that address mental health for children and adolescents.

One particularly unique approach The Foundation has supported is using the power of podcast to communicate important information and mental health to mass audiences. In 2020, The Foundation awarded more than $85,000 in grant funds to two different partners with podcasting programs that help create change for kids and teen suffering from issues with mental health.

The first of its kind, Michigan Radio collaborated with a local high school to create a podcast hosted by teens about teens called Kids These Days. Students developed and reported a podcast in the classroom learning key principles of journalism, while simultaneously giving a voice to their generation about important topics they are thinking about, laughing about, or stressing about. The series of nine episodes ranges from themes of race, sex and identity, and cell phones.

“Depression and anxiety are higher in this generation of teens,” said Jennifer Guerra, editor and executive producer, Michigan Radio. “Experts talking about research and studies are a valid and important, but we wanted to hear from kids themselves – kids telling their own stories so that peers listening and struggling with their own mental health will feel encouraged to seek help.”

Featured on Apple under New & Noteworthy and number one in Kids & Family (ahead of Julie Andrews’ podcast), Kids These Days provides an open and honest dialogue that helps teens feel less alone and parents better understand what their kids may be experiencing. Michigan Radio plans to replicate this style of podcast with another school within a different geographic location in Michigan.

To target medical professionals, The Children’s Foundation awarded a grant to Central Michigan University to support a teaching series about the mental health effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on children and families.

Podcasts provide a convenient and efficient way for professionals to consume information and earn Continuing Medical Education Credits (CME).

“There is so much literature out there for professionals to stay on top of everything that is written about a particular topic,” said Alison Arnold, Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Community Health & Wellness. “Our podcast series consists of experts who have sifted through the information and consolidated what is most important so busy professionals can stay informed without having to read all that is printed making our podcast an affordable, accessible, practical and relevant way to help change practice behavior and patient outcomes”

The CMU podcast includes built in learning objectives and questions that listeners complete post-listen. Completing the questions earns the CME and the feedback helps gauge the impact of the episode.

The first episode of the Coronavirus series will be available in the coming weeks. More information is available, here.

To learn more about what The Children’s Foundation is doing to address mental health for children and families, click here.

Photo credit: Emma Winowiecki, Michigan Radio

Help us improve the health and wellness of more children and families.

You can help us reach more children and families by making a gift to The Children’s Foundation. Click here to make your gift.

Bill and Lisa Ford Launch $10 Million+ Endowment Campaign to Foster Brighter Futures for Detroit Region’s Youth

Donor Story: Community honors lifetime philanthropist John G. Levy through Child Life endowment

Partner Highlight: Child Life Services and the importance of philanthropy