Review: Melbourne’s mental health foursome The Zoop Podcast

Review: Melbourne’s mental health foursome The Zoop Podcast

The Zoop Podcast
Words by Jordan McCarthy

Mental health and all that entails in days past was somewhat of a taboo topic, not often spoken about at all, let alone discussed openly.

Over recent years the stigma surrounding mental health, vulnerability and trauma has softened and more frequent and open discussions are not just accepted but encouraged. With that has come TV shows, magazine and podcasts based solely on the topic. One of the better podcasts out there is Melbourne’s own The ZOOP Podcast.

The Zoop Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by regular foursome Jerome Lugo, Tom Odrowaz, Nick Callanan and Connor Scott that “promotes vulnerability and positivity in the greater community”. The guys also focus on goal setting, accountability and physical and mental health with a mix ‘n’ match of episodes. The majority of episodes feature guests, while others will just be the four of them talking amongst themselves.

Keep up with the latest Melbourne films, TV shows, books and podcasts here.

The podcast episodes range anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour, with the episodes featuring a guest running a little longer. They touch on a variety of subjects ranging from social anxiety to depression. There are also episodes where the four hosts challenge each other to be vulnerable in the community, the most recent being several episodes where they pushed each other to go outside their comfort zones. In the episodes centred on the guys overcoming their social anxieties, they took part in various challenges like wearing nail polish in public or being a ‘Yes’ man for a week. They then discuss the outcomes in that week’s show.

The sound quality of the podcasts are top notch, especially when they have the opportunity to interview their guest in house. Which is this case with this week’s reviewed episode, titled ‘Borderline Personality Disorder w/ Georgia Taranto’.

Taranto is the founder of It’s Ok to Struggle, who has had her own battles with mental health, most specifically borderline personality disorder (BPD). She started It’s Ok to Struggle after spending time in a mental health ward with the hopes of educating others, not just on her own personal battles, but in all those who suffer from mental illness.

Taranto is very open and honest about her own experiences. She admits early that she is no mental health expert, but just someone with firsthand experience of the trials and tribulations of living with a mental health disorder – someone hoping to open a dialogue for others who are struggling. Taranto’s interview is also very funny, without taking away from the seriousness of what’s being discussed, admitting that she uses humour a lot when talking about her struggles and that everyone has their own mechanisms when discussing their mental health.

Taranto touches on her initial struggles in high school and her loss of identity, anger issues and depression before seeking the proper help. The whole 50-minute discussion is rather enlightening, eye opening and honest. Taranto also talks about:

  • Her time in a mental health ward, or “hotel for sad people” as she describes it
  • Bringing that experience back out into the real world and the stigma and lack of education surrounding mental health institutions
  • The difference between BPD, PTSD and bipolar
  • The feeling of finally being diagnosed and having the medication to help
  • Her own shortcomings she deals with today, including issues with anger

It’s a wildly interesting 50 minutes and considering the subject, ZOOP make it highly entertaining, which is largely thanks to Taranto’s bubbly personality and her chemistry with the hosts.

The hosts themselves are terrific in every episode. When interviewing they let their guest speak and own the spotlight, all the while asking the questions you want to hear answered and not letting the topic stray too far off course. When talking among themselves and about their own challenges, they are open and honest and display the vulnerability they talk about wanting to achieve.

There are a bunch of mental health and wellbeing podcasts out there like the popular Hilarious World of Depression or Anxiety Podcast. The Zoop Podcast sets itself apart by having four hosts – who aren’t necessarily in their comfort zones – talk about these important issues and open up for everyone to hear.

If you feel like getting out of your comfort zone and educating yourself on the important discussion that is mental health and vulnerability, you can stream The Zoop Podcast on all major streaming platforms.

For more in this series, check out our reviews of The Age’s Please Explain podcast here, or Melbourne’s ‘not a food wanker’ podcast The Melbourne Digest, or Melbourne hip-hop podcast Kulture Sound here.

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