How One Radio Station’s Focus On Mental Health Helped Listeners Around The World Feel Less Alone

“I thought I could come back and do my show, but I forget that there’s more to it,” Richards said. “You are going to get these messages, and people care about you, but I really struggled through that.” 

Richards, who considers himself to be an extroverted introvert, says everyone should wake up and ask themselves: What do I need to be myself today? “That’s been kind of my battleground, what does John Richards need today to be that guy?” he said.  

Like a lot of people with depression, he uses a variety of approaches to stay healthy, including therapy, exercise (he has a running podcast that curates music for runners), and healthy eating.

To be “that guy” for other people, however, also means listening to his inner voice and taking a break if necessary, which he does with support from his family and the station.

“I need to step away. I need to regroup. I need to not be in meetings sometimes that maybe I should be in and I’m just not prepared for it,” he said. “If I’m given that space, I feel great everyday.”

During his show, Richards shared that a listener had recently mailed him a package of black-and-white photos of his sister dancing that were taken sometime in the late 1990s.

“She’s so happy and so full of life, and it’s as if I needed to wait six months from her passing to be able to really see those pictures,” he said on air. “So I am going to frame one of those for sure and put it in my home.”

All the Music Heals days are tied together, he said, noting how addiction, depression, physical health, and grief can all impact how you feel. His sister’s alcoholism stemmed from depression and was a kind of “slow suicide.” 

“That’s what alcoholism was for her and many people, including my father. So these days all touch one another,” he told listeners. “I think people see that, so I hope you have a community out there. I have an amazing community that does things like that for me, people I have never even met. So that’s pretty great. Thank you.”

The station has grown globally

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