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Audio is Turning Up for Mental Health. Is Your Brand in Tune?

May 8, 2023

The voice, the tempo, the rhythm—creators are showing up for mental health in their lyrics, statements, and actions. And audiences are loving the catharsis and community audio brings. Is your brand supporting the movement?

Mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves. The pandemic was a tipping point, pushing issues like anxiety, depression, and neurodivergence into the spotlight. And the loudest voices in this movement are coming from audio. Musicians, rappers, and podcasters are taking mental health mainstream, and it’s resonating. 

To preface, we understand that audio isn’t itself solving a mental health crisis. But it is opening doors, starting conversations, and creating accessibility to resources that weren’t available previously. 

With that said, how can advertisers show their support? By elevating this content and joining the conversation with authentic messages. Let’s look at what mental health support looks like to creators and fans.

Digital Audio Improves Audience Moods

Safe & Sound

The causal relationship between culture and audio is undeniable. From album drops to live performances to red carpet looks, these moments are constantly happening, and they’re the rhythm and tempo of our lives. This year, we released The Culture Trends Report with the message that audio is culture, analyzing five trends that emerged in 2022.

Safe & Sound was one of the five trends we uncovered. Since pretty much ears, audio has had an intense power over all walks of life. From its storied ability to soothe to its undeniable impact on our moods, sound sets the tone. And in a post-pandemic world, audio creates a safe space for audiences who are struggling with their mental health.

Loud & Clear

In good times and bad, in sickness and in health, audiences turn to audio. Nine in 10 listeners say they listen to music to benefit their mental health. And nearly half of podcast listeners say they listen to improve their mental health.1 And it’s more than escapism. Musicians and hosts are increasingly delivering messages of acceptance and support.

The conversation around mental health has become more mainstream and accepted, especially in the hip hop and Black community. Twenty years ago, if you were going to a therapist, you were kind of seen as weird. But now, you have artists like Jay-Z and G Herbo openly talking about how they've gone to therapy, and it's helped them become better men.

Josh “J1” RaifordVice President of Music Programming at SiriusXM

 The Moments That Move The Masses

In 2022, creators took their mental health to the mic and delivered powerful moments, creating a ripple effect in the world. From Lizzo to Beyonce to Mel Robbins and so many more, catharsis ruled the charts and our lives.

Music is driving and supporting mental health moments

Show Brand Support

The voice, the tempo, the rhythm—audio is helping people lead more harmonious lives. Whether it’s an empowering song from a superstar or a lifeline from an expert, audiences are turning to music and podcasts for comfort and understanding. The best way for brands to show mental health support is to support the content with messaging that is both honest and respectful.

Be Authentic: Leave the commiseration to creators; listeners are done with the “trying times” tone. Focus on creating authentic messages that are uplifting and focus on solutions to challenges and concerns.

Be an Escape: Audiences turn to audio to lift their moods and escape what’s bringing them down. Find ways to be an extension of that safe space, like with sponsored stations or episodes.

Be a Mood: Audio evokes all kinds of emotions. Find content that aligns well with the tone of your brand, products, and campaigns. We can help you target the stations and shows that elicit the right response.

Be Meaningful: Podcasts were a light in the dark during the pandemic, and they’re still illuminating audiences’ lives. Brands can support the medium that means so much while also leveraging the connections between hosts and listeners.

Audiences are turning to audio for empathy and elevation as they navigate their lives. If you’re looking to reach audiences in a genuine, authentic format, you can turn to us. We can help you reach 150M listeners across our platforms,2 including Pandora, SiriusXM, Stitcher, and our partnerships with Soundcloud and NBCUniversal. 

Let’s talk.


1. Pandora Healthcare Soundboard Study Q4 2021

2. Comscore Media Metrix, December 2022; Nielsen SiriusXM Custom Study, Spring 2022/Fall 2022; Triton Podcast Metrics, November 2022; Edison Research December 2021 (National Telephone Survey, Podcast Consumer Tracker, Infinite Dial 2021)

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