In recent years, more and more people have been raising the volume on the need to have open, honest discussions around mental health. Artists, athletes, and creators of all types are coming forward with their stories in an effort to encourage others to do the same and to get the help they need. And while there is still a long way to go in destigmatizing the topic, Spotify is proud to use our platform to be a part of the conversation.
In 2018, we started our Heart & Soul mental health initiative that aims to raise awareness, build knowledge, enable self-care and professional support, and normalize the conversation to reduce stigma. During these last years, we’ve educated our employees on what mental health and mental illness are and provided different resources, since mental health is unique to all of us. With our mental health strategy, we aim to create a stigma-free environment where we look after ourselves and each other and where it’s ok to not be ok. We have worked to make mental health conversations and resources available to our employees, as well as to all who come to Spotify looking for the moments of calm, inspiration, and healing that music and podcasts can provide.
So as we gear up for World Mental Health Day this Sunday, we’re encouraging both our listeners and our employees to “take a beat”, and “tune in to yourself” in an effort to address mental health—not just today, but every day.
Tools for our listeners
This World Mental Health Day, we’re bringing back our curated Wellness hub, and it’s better than ever. With this updated hub, listeners can better access mental health resources, connect with themselves, and prioritize their well-being. Starting today, the hub will pop up when users open the mobile app and encourage them to “take a beat” and listen to themselves with a selection of uplifting, insightful, and calming podcasts and playlists.
Listeners will also find special playlists and video content from mental health advocates like Chelsea Cutler and Lyn Lapid. Plus, tune in for WE THE URBAN’s Fall Healing Season and MD Motivator’s Heal & Nourish. Both playlists are filled with the tracks that help creators ground and center themselves and their mental well-being. Additionally, we have an array of Spotify Creators who are involved in our World Mental Health Day campaign who are sharing original videos on how they are taking a beat and turning inwards. Creators include Cole Cuchna from Dissect, Mark Hugo from Teenager Therapy, Sarah Turney from Disappearances, Kevin O’Connor from The Mismatch, Yasi Salek from Bandsplain, Nia Sioux from Adulting with Teala & Nia, and Garrett Clayton and Blake Knight from A Gay in the Life.
Resources for our employees
This World Mental Health Day we are also encouraging our employees to refocus their attention on themselves, support and be supported by colleagues, and take a much-needed deep breath. During this day we direct our everyday attention to mental health. Every day, we strive to create a safe environment where employees can speak openly about their mental health and foster a culture where we take care of ourselves and each other. We aim to make Spotify a place where employees can be themselves and where they feel they belong no matter what they’re going through.
For World Mental Health Day in particular, we’ll be hosting virtual talks, workshops, and panels related to our employees’ mental well-being. Individuals will be able to learn new skills, deepen existing self-care practices, and open up in important conversations. We’ll also continue to lean into our Heart & Soul local peer-to-peer ambassador program that enables employees to educate and support each other and reduce the stigma around mental health.
Finding some healing
When it comes to individuals who are speaking up about mental health, WE THE URBAN stands out. The online publication updates frequently with soothing pictures, quotes, and mantras to help followers find a moment of solace in their day—and hopefully capture some skills they can use to address their mental health going forward. For the Record asked Editor-in-Chief Willie Greene about listening to oneself—and about the FALL HEALING SESSION playlist he created.
Your Instagram is filled with self-worth reminders and moments of peaceful pause. How can daily affirmations help an individual get in touch with their emotional state and needs?
The average person in the United States spends more than 1,300 hours on social media a year. If you add that up, that is literally 52 consecutive days of ingesting media—the mundane parts of other people’s lives, news, other people’s thoughts, and everything in between into our subconscious. What we’re taking in each day has real-life consequences on our mental health. Being mindful of this is so important.
That’s why I created a space on the internet like WE THE URBAN—sort of as an antidote to the onslaught of media that makes us feel bad. Our daily affirmations are shared and viewed up to 12 million times a week, and when I look through the messages we receive from our audience, I see firsthand how taking in positive daily affirmations has improved lives in a very real way. Following content that is supportive and makes you feel better about yourself can only help your emotional state.
Spotify is telling listeners to “take a beat” and “tune into themselves” during World Mental Health Day this year. Why is it important to listen to ourselves even when we might feel lost or as though we don’t personally have the answers?
Intuition is the greatest gift. So is the ability of being present. In my own mental health journey, things only began to improve when I decided to face the symptoms I was experiencing head-on. Having the courage to recognize what I was feeling informed me on how to get the help that I needed. It’s uncomfortable to sit in feelings that are confusing or painful, or to acknowledge that you might be depressed or having some serious mental health battle, but leaning into them, interrogating it, and feeling it out is how we heal.
A lot of the times when we experience heartbreaks or grieving, it’s easy to dissociate and spiral in thought. Through therapy, I learned that mindfulness and being present was the thing that was going to save me. The cliches really work: meditating, journaling, practicing mindfulness, and gratitude.
How do you approach collective versus personal struggles, especially as they can impact mental health?
When I think of collective struggles, I think of the issues marginalized communities deal with on a daily basis. I live at the intersection of so many different systematically oppressed identities. I’m Black, queer, and non-binary. When you put it all together, the struggles these communities face take a toll on our mental health. It’s not for everyone, and I definitely have to be careful about how much I do it (for the sake of my own mental health), but my approach to dealing with it is utilizing my platform to bring awareness. There is something to be said about the performance of activism a lot of people do on the internet, but the reality is that change begins with awareness.
Funny enough, I’ve crafted a career where I can do this for my personal struggles as well. Therapy has been a lifesaver and so has the ability to process what I’m going through and sharing those little nuggets of wisdom with millions of people who can relate.
What are some of your favorite mood-boosting tools?
Definitely the things I mentioned before. Therapy, journaling, exercise, and mindfulness about what I’m ingesting (on social media, what I eat, etc.) all help me so much. I’d say one of my most effective mood-boosting tools is music. The power sound has to transform how we’re feeling blows my mind, and I’m constantly curating playlists and searching for music to help with what I’m going through.
Tell us about some of the songs on your FALL HEALING SESSION playlist. What approach did you take in crafting this playlist?
It’s a vibe! When I was crafting this, I was thinking about the ups and the downs of our lifelong healing journeys. Every single song is a song that has aided me personally. Sometimes you feel energized and hopeful, other times you find yourself randomly crying about that thing you thought you got over a long time ago. I wanted to honor every kind of feeling with these song selections.
What songs or artists might listeners be surprised to see on there?
The playlist is very R&B inspired, so some people may be surprised to see “Creep” by Radiohead or “Pretty Girls” by Little Dragon. “Summer Soft” by Stevie Wonder is one of the most beautifully written songs and is so perfect for October. I’m a lover of all genres, and I hope the mix can be of service to each listener.
‘Tune into yourself’ with WE THE URBAN’S World Mental Health Day playlist.