Sweetser produces new teen mental health podcast

SACO – Sweetser, the state’s mental health organization, has launched a new mental health podcast specifically for Maine youth.

The podcast, “Not Now Maybe Later,” is hosted by Emily Ostrow, a Sweetser Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in MSAD #60.

According to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book, children struggle with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels, about one in nine nationally. Among Maine youth, their rates of anxiety and depression are higher than the national average, with close to one in six children experiencing these challenges.

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

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“I’ve been working with teenagers for almost 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’s youth where they are to validate their experiences and assist in their development.”

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Ostrow holds 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 teenagers who have experienced trauma.

“Sweetser is always looking for creative ways to connect critical resources and support with those we serve,” said Justin Shenet, Sweetser’s director of communications. “We hope this podcast provides a platform to continue destigmatizing mental health and gives young people a way to feel like they’re not alone in their feelings and anxieties.”

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The first episode focuses on the impact that social media has on the mental health of teenagers, as research has shown that social media can cause or worsen loneliness and depression, as well as lower self-esteem.

Future guests will be drawn from a variety of places and will demonstrate diverse expertise in the field of mental health.

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

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