The beginning of 2020 ushered in a brand-new face for the Frontier Health Foundation and with that change came the opportunity for fresh ideas and a broader vision for the future. Jennifer Teague, the new Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, was asked to take a look at what had happened in the past and decide on ideas that would develop and grow the Foundation’s mission and vision throughout the communities we serve. The mission of the Foundation focuses on two areas, one being the charitable arm that ensures Frontier Health’s ability to deliver high-quality behavioral health and vocational services to the communities and individuals we serve and two, working to eradicate social stigma and discrimination surrounding mental and behavioral health through advocacy, fundraising, and building public awareness.

In the past the Foundation held a large annual event focused on stigma and raising public awareness that featured a well-known celebrity sharing their story with the audience. These events successfully brought community members together and delivered the message to stop stigma to those attending the event, the only issue was they only happened once a year and stigma is an ongoing issue.

So, how do you create public awareness that truly reaches the audience and inspires the participant to make the difficult decision of shifting their mindset and long-established personal beliefs? The idea came from Jennifer in early March of this year. The message would need to be delivered with a new approach using a creative outlet that could reach as many people as possible on a consistent basis. The answer didn’t reveal itself right away. The investigation started out looking into new ways for nonprofits to connect communities with their message. After brainstorming a multitude of outside the box approaches for tackling this difficult issue, the idea of producing a podcast began to immerge as a way to meet people where they are and significantly impact their lives. With podcasts becoming more popular, somewhat due to the pandemic, and the lack of mental health podcast shows, the decision was made for Frontier to venture into this new form of communication and be at the forefront.  This is how Frontier Health Foundation’s Impact Stigma Podcast was born.

We have been so moved by the positive reviews and reactions from our listeners of this podcast, it was an easy decision to nominate Frontier Health Foundation’s Impact Stigma Podcast along with the two people that make it happen, Jennifer Teague and Josh Moore for the TAMHO Media Award.

The Impact Stigma Podcast is an interview style podcast show with three participants, the host, Jennifer Teague MPH, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, the cohost, Josh Moore, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator and a featured special guest. Each episode is carefully crafted to be both entertaining and engaging while also making that needed connection to impact the listener. Jennifer is the creator and director of the podcast working to ensure that each episode is mindfully crafted with researched questions and content that speak to the audience make an impact on stigma. She brings her personal experience and educational background as well as a drive to bring the message of stigma to everyone she meets. She is the content and marketing writer for the show and selects the special guests as well as the topic for each episode. Josh Moore is the brilliant behind the scenes editing producer that devotes hours on end to making sure each episode is crafted beautifully and engages the audience. Jennifer and Josh have a special chemistry that ensures the show stays upbeat and allows the special guest to feel safe while sharing their mental and behavioral health story with ease and honesty. The podcast touches on difficult mental health topics that are delivered in a relatable way while also effectively delivering the message of eradicating stigma through the well-developed question and answer discussions with the guest. What makes this podcast unique is it is not a show about mental health alone. The podcast’s overarching goal is always focused on eradicating the stigma that surrounds mental health by engaging our audience with candid and often humorous conversations, sharing meaningful stories along with usable knowledge and tools to make an immediate impact on the listener’s overall mindset.

Today, the Impact Stigma Podcast is featured on the iTunes Podcast app, Spotify, Amazon Music and the Frontier Health Foundation Website. The marketing launch spread the word through multiple social media outlets, magazine article and advertisements and word of mouth. The podcast has a blooming fan base and a healthy seven episodes under its belt to date with two new episodes being released every month. The Impact Stigma Podcast was intended to speak to our service area of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, but our reach has gone even farther with listeners in Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, Florida, Georgia and as far north as Illinois. While this Podcast is still very much in its infancy stage, it has already made such an impact both locally and nationally! For Jennifer, Josh and Frontier Health Foundation, Impact Stigma is way more than just a podcast, it is about igniting our communities, sharing our stories and working together with our listeners to eradicate stigma and change the lives of the communities we serve.