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OCAD U grad students create podcasts on mental health

OCAD U grad students create podcasts on mental health

OCAD University’s Design for Health graduate program is not only about design for physical health - it is a Master of Design (MDes) program that considers mental health, too.

Ten graduate students in the “Design Research I” course taught by Instructor Dr. Bryn Ludlow last fall completed a six-week podcast assignment to share their thoughts about design research methods and strategies to address issues in mental health in Canada, collaborating with experts along the way.

Students connected with Mary Alberti, CEO, IAMental Health, and Kayla Nicholls, Manager, Partnerships, Collaborations and Innovation Initiatives, IAMental Health, to learn about key topics and issues in mental health research in the country. IAM Mental Health aims to support people with mental illness, innovate solutions to bring back to communities and drive change for better mental health.

The assignment resulted in three podcasts and graphic designs to promote the podcasts on social media: Sweat n’ SwaggerLet’s Talk About Grief, Baby! and 4ThePeople.

“Podcasting felt like a natural platform for students to use, to discuss how to effectively use design research methods to address mental health concerns,” says Dr. Ludlow. “Students identified stakeholders in their proposals who can address the issues, they wrote scripts in a conversation format to share findings of their research, and they used their voices to support, and mobilize listeners for social change.”

For many of the students, it was their first time recording with industry-level audio recording technology, so it was important to partner with industry experts.

Students worked with Mykella Van Cooten, Associate Producer at CBC Sirius and Q to learn about podcast production, techniques and strategies to woo an audience, and Leonardo Dell’Anno, Producer, OCADULiVE, to learn about opportunities to continue podcast production beyond the assignment.

Integrated Media technicians Gerald Grison and Tommy Truong supported students in bringing the podcasts to life in the Audio Lab at OCAD U.

This is the third time this assignment has been presented to students by Dr. Ludlow, with previous iterations at the University of Waterloo in the Global Business and Digital Arts undergraduate program (2021), and the Inclusive Design graduate program at OCAD U (2022).


Sweat n’ Swagger

By: Zeeshan Abid, Anna Nowacki, Seth Gray and Jaspreet Sethi

This podcast explores the connection and benefits of physical exercise and its positive effects on uplifting and boosting mental health. Young adults often experience low mood, fatigue, isolation and/or stress and need an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety and have a positive outlook about themselves. The podcast sheds light on some of the ways physical exercise can improve mental health and offers flexible options that the target audience can adopt according to their own routines, requirements and personal conditions.

Let’s Talk About Grief, Baby! 

By: Isra AmsdrJaden Chong and Shreya Karnik

Everyone is mourning something. We all experience loss in some capacity. Coping with loss isn’t something widely discussed and is often categorized as a social taboo. This podcast is for those who are grieving, anticipating grief, or unknowingly going through grief. From the aching stories to the triumph of continuing to go after life – this is about the pain of grief, about learning to live to with it, and about finding levity within grief.


By: Sara Fan, Raven Xu and Daniel Lopez Velasco

Foreign workers support and advance Canada's broad economic and cultural national interests. Yet sometimes society makes judgments, leaving aside those who come to this space to try to visualize a future, without knowing the reason for their journey where they place courage, hope and love to fulfill their dreams and the well-being of their family.

This podcast aims to inform listeners about mental health experiences of migrant workers in Canada. The hosts share their own experiences as new immigrant students, and discuss the political, religious and social barriers that migrants face.