Behind the Scenes with the Mental Health Mamas

As the Mental Health Mamas bring their second season to a close, Tina and Serena provide a peek behind the scenes and answer some of the most asked questions. Tune in to hear why exactly they decided to start a podcast, how they’re handling the long-distance co-host relationship, why podcasting can be a little lonely and more!

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Serena: Hey Everyone, I’m Serena.

Tina: And I’m Tina and we are the Mental Health Mamas.


Serena: Welcome to No Need to Explain, we are so glad you’re here.

Tina: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.

Serena: We come to you NOT as mental health professionals or experts in the field, but rather as parents with lived experience who are on a mission to normalize the conversation around mental health.

Tina: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You’ll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website,

Tina: Serena! Can you believe that this is the end of our second season?

Serena: I can hardly believe it! So last week we dropped episode number 75 and our small little project has become more than we ever imagined! We have listeners in just about every state in the United States as well as listeners in 44 countries around the world.

Tina: We want to use this episode to talk about some of the questions we have been asked over the last two seasons. Whether this is your very first episode or you are a loyal listener and subscriber, we will share a bit of the behind the scenes. So let’s talk a bit about this “little project” Serena.

Serena: Sure. Let’s do it! So people often ask us why we started the podcast. And, I guess a bit of it would be that it was just the right thing at the right time. So Tina and I have supported parents, like ourselves for a number of years. So parents who have kids who struggle in one way or another (socially, emotionally, behaviorally) and that support often looked…it was very simple. It was like connecting over a cup of coffee in a coffee shop or sometimes in small groups around a book. And then…cue pandemic.

Tina: (chuckle) Yes! The lingering pandemic. In 2020, we were no longer able to do our jobs and really, like Serena said, it looked like sitting with people and honestly helping them hold their hard stuff. We did not do a lot of talking. We did a lot of support in that way. And parents….it turns out when their kids are sitting next to them do not really want to talk about the hard stuff. Surprising!?

Serena: Yeah. Not at all. So I can speak to that as a parent who had kids at home, homeschooling. Homeschooling? Schooling while at home.

Tina: Whatever they called it.

Serena: And yeah. I didn’t want to have those deep conversations that I was able to have with somebody, away from my kids. So we decided that since we were no longer able to support parents in person or again even have open conversations virtually, to continue providing support the next best thing would be to just put things out there that everybody was able to access.

Tina: Yeah. So it seemed like a total leap of faith at the time and now …super natural! We are naturals at this. So it has really shifted from support of parents to so much more to so many more people. And we have heard from lots of people around this. We started with a very narrow focus but our podcast has certainly become a place to normalize mental health on a much broader scale. And I just want to say this out loud, just because we are the mental health mamas does not mean that we are only about mamas. We are about all the people.

Serena: That’s right. Yeah. Just normalizing that conversation around mental health so if that speaks to you, this is the podcast for you.

Tina: Mmhm.

Serena: So something that people are often surprised to hear (here is a little insider info for you) is that Tina and I do not live in the same place.

Tina: Yes! We used to! And then last summer I moved. My mom, who is one of our loyal listeners, was very concerned that we wouldn’t be able to do our podcast anymore and I assured her that even when we lived across the street from one another, literally, we never sat in the same room to record! So I currently live in Virginia

Serena: And I live in New York! And while I miss seeing Tina in person and you know, being able to go for walks and just hang out, I am so grateful for technology because we can continue to see each other almost every day.

Tina: Absolutely! Yes! And speaking of technology, I need to thank our expert Mixdown Master Mike (hopefully he leaves this in the episode because he can cut it if he wants to!) He has taken our little dream and made it a professional sounding reality! We can not thank you enough Mike!

Serena: And so that answers another question I’ve heard. Yes, we do edit our episodes but it's pretty minimal. Usually they’re edited for random technical glitches that happen or if we have a giggle fit or just get totally tongue tied…

Tina: dog barking…

Serena: Dog barking. Yes, exactly. Kids asking for snacks. You know.

Tina: Exactly! None of those things really happen and of course they happen!

Serena: Yes they do! Yes. Mmhm. And we also plan out our episodes to give them structure and we hope that even though we plan them out that they sound conversational!

Tina: Mmhm. Certainly conversational and I would add, real. So we would ….we do end up sending questions along to guests. And you know, many guests answer in the moment and we are always our real selves, we are always conversational and we have certainly grown as people in not being as prepared. So, OK, I am going to be honest here and say I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser. Serena is a plan everything and we have hit a nice sweet spot. Haven’t we Serena?

Serena: Mmhm. We totally have. Yeah, I certainly never thought I’d be able to respond on the fly and come up with things to say, but I will also throw in here too that Tina and I were on three other podcasts this season which was totally out of our comfort zone. Because we didn’t have the control over that. But it was good. We did…it was…it all worked out.

Tina: It did!

Serena: Yeah. So here’s another question I hear. Where do we get the topics we talk about?

Tina: Mmhm. That is a great question! And we…the answer is we use our own experience, current events clearly affect our lives and those of the people around us. So we talk about those. We also use platforms that help us get and stay connected to those like-minded people in the world. We do hope that our episode topics are things that interest our audience AND we are always open to hearing from you. What do you want to hear about? What guests might you want to hear from? We have a voicemail and we would love to hear your voice and we may end up sharing your voice, we will never share your voice without your permission. So call us! 607-288-3382 We would love to hear your ideas, your stories, your thoughts or to just say hi!

Serena: Mmhm. Yeah, it can be a little lonely podcasting. It sounds really funny.

Tina: Well, we’re lucky to have each other AND we would love more people’s voices.

Serena: Yes. We send things out there to the world and we don’t always know how people feel about it. So yes, please call us. So another question we hear a lot is about how our kids feel about us sharing some of their stories. And what I will say about this is that it’s a balancing act. You will notice that we never use our kid’s names and we tend to focus on how the situations or circumstances affected us as parents rather than really focusing on the experiences of our kids. So that sort of protects their part of the story and helps us share ours because that’s important too. And I will add that I do ask my kids when I want to share something specific.

Tina: Mmhm. So I agree it is a balancing act. I think that our podcast is really… The reason we share any part of our story is that storytelling is powerfully connective. It’s how Serena and I connected. It’s how we have connected with other families in our area and other families through our podcast. So I can’t say enough about storytelling. I also think that my kids are older and I think probably sharing their stories is a bit normal for them because we’ve, first of all they’re older and many of the hard times we went through were when they were younger and I would say, we’ve normalized mental health for so long that both of my kids are OK with people knowing some of our story. And one of my kids was actually on our podcast the first season, episode 8, if you haven’t heard it. He talks about his mental health as a first responder!

Serena: Mmhm. Yeah. It was a great episode and if you haven’t listened to, this is your nudge to go check it out! So as we said at the very beginning, this episode is going to bring our second season to a close and we’re going to take a break from dropping episodes this summer so that we can come back to you fresh and with some brand new content.

Tina: Yes, and we will be back in September with more great guests and important topics. I know we say this all the time but it really does help our podcast to be found by others if you leave us a review on Apple podcasts and subscribe.

Serena: Right. So there’s an algorithm, right? That if you review it, if you subscribe to it, the more people who do that, the more people find it. And, here’s the other thing. When you subscribe, each episode is downloaded automatically to your device so that you won’t miss a thing and you can access our episodes no matter where you are. So you’re out running errands or picking up your kids, the episodes are there on your phone ready to go. So while we’re away, we hope you take this opportunity to catch up on previous. If you’re brand new, there’s 75. There’s lots to choose from. And for those of you who have been with us the whole way, thank you, again, and we hope you catch up on the episodes you’ve missed along the way.

Tina: Yes! And I will echo if you are on a plane, on a train, in a bus, in a tree, whatever, please you can listen wherever. So I will say the main reason we take a break in the summer is to take our own advice. We end each episode telling our listeners to take good care of yourself, ourselves and we really mean that. Serena and I teach a course on Compassion Resilience. In fact one of our episodes is one of those and there’s a YouTube piece to that. Essentially how to build the skills to take good care of ourselves so that we, as caregivers, can continue to take good care of those around us. Although we will work this summer, we will not take a full break, producing a podcast every week is A LOT of work. And we need to practice some of those Compassion Resilience tools that are in our toolbox so that we can come back fresh and ready for the third season! And so podcast friends, we are, as always, grateful for all of you listening and supporting us. You can help us out by visiting Apple podcasts, leave us a review, subscribe and please share with others. You will find lots more content on our website And you can also connect with us on all of our socials. They’re all on our website so I won’t even say them here. Yeah.

Serena: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself while you are also taking care of your people.

Tina: Thanks so much for listening!

Serena: Bye!