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S.T.A.Y. Tuned Podcast

podcast logo is a blue square with outline of head wearing headphones S.T.A.Y. Tuned: Supporting Transition-Age Youth Podcast is a podcast made for and by young adults with mental health conditions. Guests include:

  • Researchers and colleagues who share information from their studies and interventions designed to support transition-aged youth and young adults navigating school or work.
  • Young adults with mental health conditions who share their journeys navigating high school, college, and post-grad life. These authentic conversations offer an inside look into what it’s like transitioning to adulthood when you have a mental health condition.

Listen below from Spotify; or on Apple, Google, Pandora, Stitcher and YouTube.


Episode 18: Paving the way for patient-centered therapy with Scott Bryant-Comstock (Part 1)  

In today's episode, we speak with a remarkable guest, Scott Bryant-Comstock, an advocate in the field of mental health for over 40 years, and Founder and CEO of the Children’s Mental Health Network. Scott shares his decades-long journey from working in halfway houses in San Jose to pioneering parent-professional collaboration in national mental health policy. His career is filled with funny stories and transformative encounters and has powerfully impacted the mental health space.

Join us for part 1 of his story, as Scott unravels his personal and professional evolution, revealing the lessons learned from navigating complex systems and embracing human imperfections. Whether you're new to Scott's work or familiar with his impactful legacy, prepare to be inspired by his unyielding commitment to listening, learning, and forging new paths in mental health support. If you enjoyed this episode, stay tuned for part 2 of Scott’s story coming soon! Read the Transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 17: Leveling Up Together: Gaming, Community, and Mental Health 

There is a stereotype that gaming is a waste of time, but this episode with Derek Lewis, a member of our Young Adult Advisory Board challenges that notion head-on. Derek shares his personal journey, revealing how gaming became a lifeline for him while growing up in a gang-prone LA neighborhood. We talk about how gaming helped Derek build meaningful relationships, including one with a gamer friend who stood by him as his best man at Derek's wedding! Tune in to learn how virtual worlds can become real sources of support and community, proving that sometimes, the best friendships can be found behind a controller.

Read the Transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 16: Suffering in Silence? How to obtain mental health accommodations at work and school

Debbie Nicolellis, the Training Director for the Helping Youth on the Path to Employment (HYPE) Study at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research brings her knowledge on all things accommodations in this episode. What can mental health accommodations look like in school and work? If your medication makes you drowsy in the morning, maybe it’s shifting your work hours to start and end an hour later.  Who can use accommodations and how do you set them up? Debbie answers all our questions on how accommodations can help you be the best version of yourself in school and work.  Read the transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 15: “Nothing About Us Without Us”- Practicing self-advocacy as a young adult with a mental health condition 

AmandaGrace Krier, a certified peer specialist with Youth MOVE National joins the show and discusses her journey advocating for herself in school and then in the workplace. There is not just one way to practice advocacy. It can look like anything from standing up for yourself to standing up for others through legislation. For AmandaGrace, self-advocacy was not always easy but was a skill she had to practice. Now she teaches others how they can practice advocacy for themselves, and she shares these tips with us including tips on obtaining accommodations in work and school. Read the transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 14: Can Avatars Help Young Adults Manage Alcohol Use Problems & Suicidal Thoughts? 
Can a mobile intervention using avatars help young adults manage their mental health after being discharged from the emergency department? Dr. Lourah Kelly’s “Avatar Project” explores this possibility. She’s testing an app-based cognitive behavioral therapy intervention for young adults with alcohol misuse and suicidal thoughts who have visited the ED. Lourah shares that “this age group [has] the highest rates of alcohol use disorder and suicidality, but very low rates of utilization of behavioral healthcare for either problem.” There aren’t enough healthcare providers available, and young adults often want to manage their problems on their own. This avatar-based mobile intervention may help bridge this need and access gap. This is a fascinating episode where we learned how an avatar-based app is created and how input from young adults is driving the content of this tool. Read the Transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel

Episode 13: Salsa Dancing, a Youth Advisory Board and Peer Support for Mental Health
Today we talk with Joshua Calarino, a member of our Youth Advisory Board, about ways getting involved in his community has helped his mental health. Joshua shares his journey from someone who struggled with their mental health in high school to the discovery of the different things he found that helped him feel better and more connected to his community. His story of recovery started when he said “yes” to an invite to a salsa dance class. We talk about Youth Move, peer support, and Joshua’s experience as a member of our Youth Advisory Board where he joins other young adult members to provide valued feedback from the youth perspective to our research team at Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research. Joshua highlights the impact that a strong sense of community can have on young adults’ mental health. Read the transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 12: Why Millennials and Gen Z Love Nostalgia & How it Impacts Mental Health
Do you find yourself going back to your childhood favorite shows and movies like Wizards of Waverly Place, Mulan, or Max and Ruby? Maybe you find yourself playing your old games like Webkinz, The Sims, and Pokemon. It’s actually quite common if sometimes all you want to do after a long day of work is consume the nostalgic content you grew up with. But what we wanted to know is, what is it about nostalgia that soothes us? Why do we find comfort in the things from our past? Can nostalgia be intentionally implemented as a tool to help us cope with our stressors in life? Join us as we explore these questions and discuss our childhood favorites to hopefully give you your own dose of nostalgia for the day. Read the transcript. Watch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 11: Progress isn't Linear, You Might Even Need a Detour Out of School
Graduate high school, graduate college, get a job. A deceivingly simple timeline that young adults were expected to follow since they were kids. In reality, life is messy and we're here to tell you detours along the way are normal and there's more than one way to reach your goals. In this episode, we bring on Maya Ingram, a Project Director here at UMass Chan Medical School. Maya tells her story of how she navigated the ups and downs life has thrown at her all while paving the way for her career. Read the transcriptWatch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 10: "Too sick" to work? - Breaking the narrative
Join us and Dr. Michelle Mullen CRC, CPRP, as we discuss her work on preventing disability and keeping young adults out of a system that breaks them. She explains why the language used to describe the mental health of young adults is so key and what can be done to change the narrative of self-blame. We also get into her thoughts on what the future of mental health care should look like for young adults and how we can work towards it. Read the transcript

Episode 9: Trauma is a thief- reclaiming your power
Left alone at a baseball field in a thunderstorm with no way to get home, 17-year-old Joan Sullivan found that her life had changed forever. Joan would later be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in part from the tangled web family often weaves. As young adults, many are left to overcome the traumas they were dealt growing up, leaving them confused and powerless as they transition to adulthood. In this episode, Joan shares her story about how she was able to find her power again. Read the transcriptWatch it on our YouTube Channel.

Episode 8: Prioritizing YOU - taking a leave of absence
How does one go about sharing their mental health conditions with their supervisor? What's it like coming back from taking a leave? How might you address your leave of absence with colleagues? Mei and Emily, our podcast hosts, have brought on Ali Gold, a State-Wide Youth/Young Adult Peer Coordinator to help answer these questions. Read the written transcript

Episode 7: Is anybody out there? The isolation of adulthood.
Hello hello! Emily and Mei are back this week with a special episode of STAY tuned. In this episode, we wanted to let you guys get to know us a little bit better. We keep it real and discuss our struggles in creating healthy routines in a life where screens dominate our whole day and later get into the lonely reality of post-grad life. 

Episode 6: We're working on it! featuring Emma Narkewicz, MPA
Today's episode features iSPARC's very own Emma Narkewicz, a research coordinator here at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research. Emma begins by walking us through her work on Pre-employment Transition Services in Massachusetts. Later we dive into what it's like being a young adult with mental health conditions entering the workforce and sustaining a career. Let's talk navigating mental health as a young professional, living wages, and what we wish we had known going into college! 

Episode 5: The WEIGHT of weight stigma featuring Dr. Nana Yaa Marfo
Today's podcast episode features Nana Yaa Marfo, PhD, a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow here at iSPARC. Dr. Marfo provides outpatient clinical care and conducts mental health services research. Her past experiences working on weight-related studies informed our chat today. We discuss unrealistic body expectations promoted by social media, food insecurity on college campuses, the impact of weight stigma on young adult mental health, and how the social determinants of health play a role in weight stigma.

Episode 4: Trauma informed care for LGBTQ+ youth with Antonia Barba, LCSW
Join in on our conversation with Antonia Barba, as she guides us through her expertise in trauma-informed, affirming care for LGBTQ+ youth. We touch on how clinicians can work with unwilling caregivers to accept gender and sexual identity, the intersectionalities of LGBTQ+ youth, advocacy work, and even dive into the systemic issues within our healthcare system.

Episode 3: Tailoring Mental Health Treatments to Young Adult Voices with Dr. Michelle Munson
In this episode, we interview Michelle Munson, PhD, a professor at NYU's Silver School of Social Work. Dr. Munson walks us through her innovative research, collaborating with youth to fully understand what implementation strategies and tools will best meet their unique needs and desires.

Episode 2: Engaging Youth in Mental Health Services featuring Dr. Vanessa Klodnick
In this episode, we interview Vanessa Klodnick, PhD, at Thresholds, on her work in youth and young adult services engagement and speak with her about her vast experience in participatory action research in transition-age youth mental health services. 

Episode 1: The Unique Importance of Transition-Age Youth Services featuring Dr. Maryann Davis
In this episode, we interview Maryann Davis, PhD, an internationally renowned expert in youth and young adult mental and behavioral health services on her journey into developing the field of transition-age youth mental health services research.