Five psychiatrists gather at the studio twice a month to record a podcast about mental health based on the stories sent by their subscribers. As students who had studied together to become a psychiatrist and doctors who are now working in the field, they all recognized the existence of severe stigma and misunderstanding toward psychiatry within the society. Regarding it to be the critical reason of patients losing their opportunity to be treated at the right time, they started recording a podcast named Brainrich in 2017. Breaking down the prejudice people have on mental illness and its treatment, the podcast delivers accurate knowledge about mental health and corrects people’s misunderstandings.
Corresponding to the current rising interest in mental health, Brainrich is the very first podcast in Korea that talks about mental health. Initially, they chose stories about specific mental illness or psychological concept to discuss it online. However, the five members, Yoon Hui-woo, Huh Kyu-hyeong, Oh Dong-hun, Sohn Jeong-hyun ,and Kim Ji-yong, are now taking turns to choose stories that they want to talk about for their episodes. They choose those who they sincerely want to help out or which many people may sympathize with. Not only do they talk about stories sent by their subscribers, but they also deal with social issues related to mental illness such as a crime by a schizophrenia patient.
Among their subscribers who are mostly in their 20s to 40s, there are many university students who listen to the podcast and send stories.
“I certainly do feel that now there are more young students concerned with their mental health,” Heo said. “In the past, mostly the elderly or those with chronic mental illness visited the hospital for treatment. However, as more young patients are seeing the doctor, more hospitals are opening in areas near universities or companies. It definitely reflects the recent rising interest and demands.”
Among the diverse reasons of university students visiting the hospital for mental health treatment, the members spoke out about what they think the biggest threat is to the mental health of students.
“Stress and pressure related to employment seems to be the primary cause,” Oh shared. “In fact, there are many students who visit the hospital after their continuous failure in employment or in passing exams. There are even some who show severe symptoms of mental illness. I would like to advise those people to take some time to refresh, and escape from things that cause stress.”
Although they have their primary job as doctors, they are continuing to work on the podcast to break down the barriers for mental illness treatment.
“Along with the social efforts needed to abolish discrimination, there should be individual efforts to solve the issue,” Kim said. “People often think that lack of willingness is the cause of one’s mental illness, but that is not the case. Many do not know much about mental illness that it might be the right time to start learning about it. Listening to our podcast may be a way.”
Working to eliminate the prejudice against mental illness, Brainrich is planning to expand and diversify their content. They are planning to enter into a visual platform to introduce more about mental health and reach out to more people. Their work to fight against the stigma on mental illness and make people more aware on mental health will continue.