Mental health awareness and French vanilla ice cream are two passions of senior television-radio major Michayla Savitt, creator and host of “The Scoop on Mental Health,” a podcast where Savitt and guests discuss mental health issues over ice cream.
Her weekly podcast began in October as part of an independent project in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Friends, professors, motivational speakers and even Savitt’s mother have taken part in the discussions. Each 20-minute episode features both a different flavor of ice cream and mental health topic. So far, topics have included handling anxiety in college, self-worth, the effect of mental health stigma on society, and learning to accept your own mental health.
Ice cream flavors have included chocolate chip and Cherry Garcia.
When people listen to her podcast, Savitt hopes that they will understand how important mental well being is, especially for college students.
“We’re at this point in our lives where we’re starting to become adults,” Savitt said. “Not everyone takes the time to slow down and collect their thoughts.”
Savitt was reminded of that herself over the summer. Faced with frequent questions about her post-college plans, she was uncertain of her future, and began to feel depressed. Savitt has struggled with depression and anxiety since she was 12-years-old, and now hopes to use her experiences to help others.
“The Scoop” provides Savitt with a platform where she can discuss mental health while breaking the stigma surrounding it. “I thought this would be a great way to help other people and spread the message on caring for your mental well being, because it’s not something that people ever talk about,” she said.
As a television-radio major and DJ and talent coordinator for student radio station WICB, the podcast also allows Savitt to put her media production experience to use. Her involvement at WICB, where she has worked since her freshman year, has been key.
“Getting that experience and level of comfort on air and talking to people has been a huge help,” Savitt said.
Savitt pitched “The Scoop” at the 2016 Park Tank competition, winning second place and taking home $300 to use to produce the podcast.
Next semester, Savitt hopes to continue her podcast for her senior thesis by talking with more people from outside of campus — therapists, local mental health advocates and other professionals — in longer episodes centered on a specific theme. She hopes that by continuing the podcast she can further break the stigma surrounding mental health and help others in accepting their own struggles.
“It’s okay to feel — we’re human, we’re imperfect, we all have the ability to help each other and it starts by listening and accepting,” Savitt said.