7 episodes

When we are struggling with our mental health, we will often think that no one else is feeling the same thing. It can be a huge relief to discover that you are not alone in these struggles.

The Let's Talk podcast is a new series bringing together different members of the University community to have honest and thought-provoking conversations about mental health. Each episode is hosted by our Chaplain, Harriet Harris, and features discussions between students and staff talking about a range of mental health topics, from loneliness and depression to imposter syndrome and a fear of failure.

These are serious topics with lots of space to grow understanding - and with lots of laughter along the way too!

#LetsTalk Podcast The University of Edinburgh

    • Health & Fitness

When we are struggling with our mental health, we will often think that no one else is feeling the same thing. It can be a huge relief to discover that you are not alone in these struggles.

The Let's Talk podcast is a new series bringing together different members of the University community to have honest and thought-provoking conversations about mental health. Each episode is hosted by our Chaplain, Harriet Harris, and features discussions between students and staff talking about a range of mental health topics, from loneliness and depression to imposter syndrome and a fear of failure.

These are serious topics with lots of space to grow understanding - and with lots of laughter along the way too!

    • video
    Let's Talk- ep 6: Stress, burn out, and recovery

    Let's Talk- ep 6: Stress, burn out, and recovery

    For this podcast I am joined by James Saville, who is the Director of HR.
    James talks about his own experience of stress and burn out, and from a perspective of someone who is used to achieving and operating at a senior level, and who also needs to understand work stress, not only because he manages other staff, but because as HR Director he oversees the University’s response to stress at work. James speaks with remarkable openness, warmth and personal insight as we discuss journeys into and out of burn-out, recognising signs and triggers, managing your inner chimp or critic, and noticing and receiving the support of those around you. We also talk about some of the ‘blessings’ of burn-out: learning to look after yourself, re-evaluating your priorities and wanting to do good in the world, and growing in self-knowledge and compassion.


    If any of the issues in this broadcast have affected you and you’d like support, here are some helplines.

    If you feel that you or someone you are with is in danger right now, please call 999

    A 24/ hour emergency mental health service, Mental health assessment service us on 0131 537 6000.
    · Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 · The Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 · Edinburgh Crisis Centre 0808 801 0414


    For University support
    Nightline Student Counselling Service, https://www.ed.ac.uk/student-counselling Staff Counselling Service, https://www.ed.ac.uk/counselling-services/staff The Listening Service (for students and staff), chaplaincy@ed.ac.uk, 0131 650 2595 

    • 1 hr 12 min
    • video
    Let's Talk- ep 5: Suicidality and finding life again

    Let's Talk- ep 5: Suicidality and finding life again

    In this podcast I am joined by 3rd year Medical undergraduate, Heather McAdam. We talk about the mental pain that can lead someone to try to end their life, what helps and what doesn’t help if you are feeling suicidal, or if you are supporting someone who is, and how it is possible to come through a suicide attempt into enjoying and appreciating life in a whole new way.
    Heather shares some inspiring tactics that she adopted, and describes how social media was positive in her recovery, for enabling her to share feelings and insights, and to discover that she was not alone.

    We talk in this podcast about transference - the ways in which we can pick up feelings from someone, such as feelings of anxiety or depression, and that those feelings are not your own and do not need to stay with
    you. One way to manage transference is to talk to another person about the feelings you have noticed. You can use the University Staff or Student counselling Service or the Listening Service for this. 
    Please use the following information if any of the issues discussed in this podcast have affected you and you’d like support.

    If you feel that you or someone you are with is in danger right now, please call 999. You can also contact the NHS 24 hour emergency mental health assessment service on 0131 537 6000.

    24/7 helplines


    Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
    The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
    Edinburgh Crisis Centre: 0808 801 0414

    University support


    The Advice Place
    Nightline
    Student Counselling Service
    Staff Counselling Service
    The Listening Service (for students and staff) at the Chaplaincy: chaplaincy@ed.ac.uk; 0131 650 2595

    • 56 min
    • video
    Let's Talk- ep 4: Fear of failure, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and living life each moment

    Let's Talk- ep 4: Fear of failure, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and living life each moment

    Sharing their personal experiences, and their musical tastes, in this podcast are 3rd year undergraduate Stephanie McNair, and Assistant Principal and Professor of Engineering, Alan Murray.
    Together, we talk about the tyranny of perfectionism, fearing that we will fail, or that we have failed, and feeling that we are not good enough - imposter syndrome being such a common feeling that affects pretty much all of us at various times.

    We also touch on aspects of grief and depression, which Stephanie and Alan brought into the conversation. And we think about how to bring positives out of the negatives: knowing that we learn a lot from the things that we have been through, and coming to appreciate living life to the full in each moment.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    • video
    Let's talk- ep 3: Grief, Loss and Appreciation

    Let's talk- ep 3: Grief, Loss and Appreciation

    Talking with me about her experience of grief and loss is 3rd year biology undergraduate Isobel Cordrey. Izzy describes the shock of hearing that her closest childhood friend had died, of finding herself in a role of passing on the news to other friends, of feeling guilty when she isn’t thinking about her friend, and guilty when she is thinking about her ‘instead’ of getting on with her life. Izzy also talks about what helps and what doesn’t when you have lost someone close to you, how a deeper awareness of death helps us to appreciate life and to value our family and our friendships, and how we can be drawn together in shared understanding with others who have suffered loss.We also come to a realisation that we all need help, that most people want to be helpful, that we can help others to know how to support us, and we can learn how to receive.

    Isobel Cordrey is a coordinator at Peer Support scheme WellComm. Izzy is considering setting up a group at the University for people who would like to talk about grief or other forms of loss. If this would be of interest to you, please email me, Harriet Harris, at h.harris@ed.ac.uk.

    • 1 hr
    • video
    Let's Talk- ep 2: Loneliness, isolation, and the courage to make friends

    Let's Talk- ep 2: Loneliness, isolation, and the courage to make friends

    Two undergraduates, Rosie Taylor and Stephanie McNair, come together for this podcast to talk about loneliness. More and more people, of all ages, are reporting feeling lonely, and we know that this is bad for our physical and mental health. Rosie Taylor is LGBT+ Officer at the Students’ Association. Rosie and Stephanie give voice to how some of this feels, and how shame and self-judgement worsen loneliness because they make us hide ourselves away. They share their experiences of starting university, or returning after taking a year out, of the pros and cons of social media, and of how smartphones can be both social aids and social barriers.
    You will hear in this podcast about how connectedness is a basic human need, physiologically and mentally, and releases helpful chemicals in the brain. We talk about how we can coach our shame or inner critic; how making friends involves some courage but that others often meet our fears with compassion; and how we can connect with ourselves and so turn loneliness into an enriching solitude, which is a great base from which to form friendship.
    We also talk in this podcast about being on your own at Christmas, and invite University of Edinburgh students to email Eleri Connick, Eleri.Connick@ed.ac.uk, if you do not join family or friends over the Christmas period, and are alone in Edinburgh when the University is closed. Eleri is organising Christmas lunches for those who are here.
    SupportPlease use the following information if any of the issues discussed in this podcast have affected you and you’d like support.
    If you feel that you or someone you are with is in danger right now, please call 999. You can also contact the NHS 24 hour emergency mental health assessment service on 0131 537 6000.
    24/7 helplines
    Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 Edinburgh Crisis Centre: 0808 801 0414University support
    Nightline Student Counselling Service Staff Counselling Service The Listening Service (for students and staff) at the Chaplaincy: chaplaincy@ed.ac.uk; 0131 650 2595

    • 42 min
    • video
    Let's Talk- ep1: Anxiety, Depression and 'Leaning In'

    Let's Talk- ep1: Anxiety, Depression and 'Leaning In'

    Joining me for this podcast are 3rd year Zoology undergraduate Rosie Taylor, and Assistant Principal and Professor of Engineering Alan Murray.

    Rosie tells about her experiences of great sadness and despair from when she was very young, Alan from when he was older having first seen family members suffer. They talk about how hard it is to communicate the feelings of heaviness when you are in them, and how hard it is to get out of bed.
    Other things we cover in this podcast include: talking about mental health across generations, how shame can make matters worse, what panic attacks feel like, ways of getting back to safety, and different experiences of medication.
    Rosie and Alan raise the crucial question: if I’m honest with people, will I still be seen as a capable or credible person? They discover important breakthroughs by being honest, whilst also learning to keep their boundaries.
    They both agree that leaning into how you are feeling, learning self-acceptance, and forgiving the past are wise and generous ways of responding to what you are going through.

    • 1 hr 4 min

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