Bemidji State faculty member starts radio show addressing mental health
Dec. 8, 2015 — Using her own experiences battling anxiety and depression as a guide, Bemidji State University faculty member Valica Boudry is starting a radio show that aims to provide northern Minnesotans easier access to mental health information.
Boudry, an associate professor in Bemidji State’s Department of Mass Communication, is collaborating with KAXE Northern Community Radio to produce a show covering a variety of mental health-related issues. She advocates for what she calls an “integrative health approach” to mental illness that gives attention to body, mind and spirit. KAXE will broadcast a 30-minute pilot of the show at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 10.
“Research has shown us that all of those things — mind, body and spirit — are important in treating mental illness,” Boudry said. “For example, how much the gut and digestive system play into mood disorders. So if a person isn’t healthy at the body level, it doesn’t matter how much therapy you have — you’re addressing only part of the problem.”
Boudry, who is producing the show, interviews a guest to open the show, who will share a story about his or her personal experience with the show’s topic. The show also will include an interview by KAXE’s Scott Hall with a professional expert whose work covers that subject.
“When I started thinking about this program, I wondered what I would want as a listener,” she said. “I thought I would want to hear somebody’s story that I might identify with and relate to, and then hear from an expert who knows their subject and knows it from an integrative health standpoint.”
The Dec. 10 pilot will cover anxiety disorders. According to research released by the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults over the age of 18 — 18 percent of the population. The institute says anxiety is highly treatable, yet only about one-third of sufferers receive that treatment.
For the pilot, Boudry will interview a Violet, a 54-year-old Bemidji woman who began suffering from anxiety as a teenager. According to Boudry, Violet suffered from “overwhelming, debilitating fear” from the age of 17 into her early 30s, when she finally was able to find treatment that worked for her.
Also during the pilot, Hall will interview Dr. Henry Emmons, an integrative psychiatrist who has written two books on depression and anxiety, “The Chemistry of Joy” and “The Chemistry of Calm.” Emmons and his associates run Partners in Resilience, a Minneapolis-based center offering programs and services for people managing issues related to anxiety and depression.
Boudry says her motivation for producing the show is to provide people suffering from mental health-related issues with a community-focused resource that provides accurate, professional information from an integrative health approach.
“There is so much you can do to treat mental illness outside of just taking medications,” Boudry said.
She says this integrative health approach worked for her own struggles with mental health issues, and the radio program aims to share ways listeners can use this approach to take care of themselves.
“I personally have struggled with depression and anxiety in my life,” she said. “I know what it’s like to not have the information you need to make decisions about your own treatment. The goal of this program is to bring people in who know their stuff and can speak to it in ways people can understand and relate to.”