Don’t Be Afraid To Talk: Lumumba brings his mental health podcast to The Civic
James Lumumba

Don’t Be Afraid To Talk: Lumumba brings his mental health podcast to The Civic

James Lumumba will be taking his mental health awareness podcast to the Civic Theatre stage in Tallaght for a free-to-attend live recording this Saturday, July 16, at 11am.

The Jobstown man, who is a mental health advocate and has undertaken many charity fundraisers over the years, launched his podcast ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Talk’ last year.

The podcast delves into the importance of looking after your mental health, and features input from mental health professionals and advice on seeking help if you’re struggling.

This weekend, James will be taking to the stage with a guest therapist for a live recording of the podcast which will be aired at a later date – and all are welcome to attend the free event.

James told The Echo about why he decided to start a podcast about mental health, what he’s learned about mental health as a result, and his hopes for the live show this Saturday.

You started your mental health podcast, ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Talk’, in August 2021. What prompted you to start the podcast?

In previous years I made a handful of videos sharing personal stories, and in 2021 I wanted to create more videos, but this wasn’t possible.

A stranger recommended I start a podcast. I didn’t know anything about podcasts, but my need to talk about these topics was much greater so I decided to learn.

Soon I realised that, with the podcast, I was not limited to my proximity and that gave me another boost. The conditions may be similar, but the struggles and how we cope are different. Since starting I have recorded with guests around Ireland, Europe and the USA.

You interview a variety of people on the podcast, including mental health professionals and people who’ve experienced mental illness. Why is it important, to you, to use your podcast as a platform for those interviewees’ views and experiences?

I believe most people who have experienced mental health issues and have gone through some recovery process always want to share their struggles, in the hope of helping others.

I want to give them another opportunity to reach more people. In our struggles, we believe and feel like we’re alone – but we are never alone.

Mental illness can affect any of us and if we reach the right person, that story might be the one they needed to hear.

Is there anything you’ve learned while making the podcast that surprised you or you found particularly interesting about the topic of mental health?

Each podcast I record with any of the therapists…it sometimes feels like my own therapy session, and there’s always an interesting thing to take away at the end.

My perception of mental health has changed drastically from listening to personal stories.

Most of us want to do better in life, but sometimes life hands us something that changes our lives completely. Some people are able to turn it back around, and others are still struggling.

If you are looking to help someone, my advice would be to learn about their struggle and listen without judgement or assumptions.

What feedback has ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Talk’ received so far?

The podcast has received some great positive feedback for the range of subjects I have been able to cover so far, and the variety of guests that I have from different backgrounds.

You’ll be bringing the podcast to the live stage at the Civic on July 16, how are preparations going for the event?

I’m excited about it but also nervous at the same time. I have not done anything like this before, but I like to try new things and challenge myself.

This might give me another opportunity to reach more people, but it’s not just about reaching people – it’s about reaching the right people, the ones that are suffering in silence.

What can audience members expect from the live recording of the podcast?

I advise anyone coming to come with an open mind. The conversations are the individual’s personal story and I hope they can feel inspired from what is shared.

If you’re coming, please bring a question along for our Q&A session with the therapist. I hope audience members will be able to get something they can take away from the afternoon.

What impact do you hope the event will have?

I’m trying to normalise conversations about mental health. Based on this event, I will see if there’s a need for having a show with a live audience.

To book your free ticket for the live show, visit HERE.

‘Don’t Be Afraid to Talk’ is available now on all podcast platforms.

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