Health

Sweetser produces new teen mental health podcast

SACO — Sweetser, a statewide mental health organization, has launched a new podcast about mental health, specifically for Maine youth.

The podcast, “Not Now Maybe Later,” is hosted by Emily Ostrow, a licensed Sweetser clinical social worker based in MSAD #60.

According to the “2022 Kids Count Data Book,” children are struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels, about one-in-nine nationally. Amongst Maine youth, their rates of anxiety and depression are higher than the national average, closer to one in six kids experiencing these challenges.

Teenagers and their mental health will be the focus of each episode. Topics will include: what to expect from therapy, medications and seeing a psychiatrist, perspectives on mental health changes as you grow up, eating disorders and nutrition, LGBTQ+ and gender affirming care, and when someone you love has mental illness or addiction.

“I’ve been working with teenagers for nearly 14 years, and they are my favorite clients to work with,” Ostrow said. “Podcasts are a great way to make information relevant, personal and accessible. There has never been a more important time to meet Maine youth where they are at to both validate their experiences and aid in their development.”

Ostrow earned a master’s degree in Social Work, clinical program, from Simmons University in Boston and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She specializes in working with teens who have experienced trauma.

“Sweetser is always looking for creative ways of connecting critical resources and support to those we serve,” said Justin Chenette, Sweetser’s communications director. “We hope this podcast provides a platform to continue destigmatizing mental health and gives youth a way to feel like they aren’t alone in their feelings and anxieties.”

The first episode centers around the impact social media has on teenage mental health as research has shown social media can cause or worsen loneliness and depression, and lower self-esteem.

Future guests will be pulled from a variety of places and will showcase various expertise in the mental health field.

“Not Now Maybe Later” is available on Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube.


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