Associate dean joins mental health podcast as co-host

By Lauren Timmerman and Nikki Wilmoth
October 29, 2018
Holly Oxhandler
Podcasting … a seemingly vast and overwhelming realm of possibilities. Any topic one might be interested in is probably available via a podcast, from politics to polar ice caps and everything in between … including mental health. Podcasting is a valuable tool in the mental health care arsenal. Podcasts provide educational opportunities for both those experiencing mental health issues and those wanting to learn more about how to help people cope with and thrive through those issues.

To that end, our own Dr. Holly Oxhandler, associate dean of research at the Garland School of Social Work, is now co-hosting “CXMH: A Podcast on Faith and Mental Health”. According to its creator, Robert Vore, CXMH is at the intersection of faith and mental health, bringing Christian leaders and mental health professionals together for “honest conversations”.
“My hope is that this season [of CXMH] creates space for more researchers, advocates, writers, and thought-leaders to share their important work and stories with our audience on a variety of topics,” she said. “I hope this podcast helps listeners ultimately grow in their understanding, empathy, and self-reflection related to the intersection of faith and mental health.” - Dr. Holly Oxhandler

Dr. Oxhandler said, “I love that podcasts are an accessible venue to share important ideas, advocacy efforts, and research findings. They offer a space for listeners to continue to learn, grow, be challenged in their thinking, hear diverse perspectives on a wide variety of topics, and to be transformed by new ideas or stories. As an ADR, especially in social work, I love that podcasts offer a platform for researchers and thought leaders to share their ideas and research findings as translatable stories for a wider audience to receive.”

Vore’s overarching goal for CXMH has always been to provide a free resource that brings people together for conversations on topics that are accessible and practically helpful for anyone wanting to learn.

“My hope is that people can learn things they can apply to their everyday lives, especially people in ministry learning how to better engage with mental health,” Vore added.

Holly Robert Vore CXMH

In Vore’s experience, many people turn to faith leaders in times of hardship and crisis. Many times, faith leaders are not as well equipped to handle mental health issues as they are faith and spiritual issues. Vore said helping these leaders navigate those kinds of conversations and helping them feel “more comfortable referring when needed” can change the way many people view mental health.

Oxhandler, an expert in the field of spirituality and mental health, has conducted multiple studies regarding the importance of integrating religion and spirituality in mental health care and is currently studying client preferences for such integration. Even with her own expertise in this area, she hopes to learn from her upcoming guests and serve the community through her co-hosting position while achieving several aims.

“My hope is that this season [of CXMH] creates space for more researchers, advocates, writers, and thought-leaders to share their important work and stories with our audience on a variety of topics,” she said. “I hope this podcast helps listeners ultimately grow in their understanding, empathy, and self-reflection related to the intersection of faith and mental health.”

Oxhandler is not only eager to reach out to clergy and mental health practitioners, but also to a much broader audience.

“My hope is that that this podcast serves you well, whether you’re a religious leader, mental health care provider, someone who struggles with or loves someone with mental illness, or just trying to grow in your own journey,” she said.

Vore is quite excited for the addition of Oxhandler to his team.

“I couldn't be more honored that she agreed or more excited to see how the addition of her voice to the conversations impacts the show and our audience,” he stated. “Her depth of knowledge, combined with her graceful conversation style and her ability to talk about the topics in an accessible and engaging manner made her an obvious choice.”

Oxhandler expressed similar feelings of enthusiasm and pride.

“I am deeply honored to be co-hosting this program,” she said. “Robert has built CXMH and the community that surrounds it to be what it is today, and I am humbled that he considered me to join him as a co-host!”
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