Podcast Listeners Invest in Mental Health—Brands Should Too

MaryKate Breslin, Senior Manager, Market ResearchMay 1, 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness, reduce the stigma, support others, and empower those who need it to seek help. Undoubtedly, mental health is an essential component of our overall health and wellness, and yet it is often neglected due to fear of judgment, financial barriers, or accessibility. While it can be overwhelming to navigate the many challenges associated with mental health care and access, there’s a powerful medium available to bridge the gap: Podcasts.

The spoken-word platform has emerged as a powerful tool, offering support, solace, and guidance to those battling mental health symptoms. With its unique ability to provide free, on-demand access, insight from industry experts and professionals, and a safe space for open dialogue, podcasts are a driving force in shifting the perspective from stigma to shared experiences.

Podcasts: The Beacon of Hope

The health and fitness genre, (which encompasses mental health) has seen a +42% increase in listeners over the last four years. The genre quickly gained popularity during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when social connections were upended due to lockdowns. As a result, podcasts became an essential educational and therapeutic outlet for many Americans—and it’s still prevalent in their lives today. In fact, 94% of mental health podcast listeners agree that podcasts are important in managing their mental health, and 91% agree that podcasts have been successful in managing their mental health.

With the ability to provide consumers with research-backed information and tips across a wide spectrum of complex topics and sensitive themes, mental health podcasts are an invaluable resource. More than one in two mental health podcast listeners say these shows have changed their lives for the better—and they’re tuning in to an array of topics, from anxiety management to trauma recovery.

The popularity, accessibility, and breadth of subject matter within these podcasts has led to mainstream adoption, making the topic of mental health easier to address—57% of listeners say these shows have removed the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Not surprisingly, they continue to grow and evolve, all the while remaining a trusted and go-to resource for listeners.

Podcast Hosts: The Virtual Therapist

The readily available, in-depth nature of mental health podcasts isn’t the only thing that makes them a go-to resource for listeners. This sense of trust and community is largely due to the hosts delivering the content. From their invaluable industry knowledge to the sensitive way in which they address highly personal subject matter, mental health podcasters have served as beloved advisors and mentors to listeners seeking intimate expertise.

For advertisers, the trusted voices of podcast hosts create the ideal environment to deliver brand messaging thoughtfully and authentically—and the SiriusXM Podcast Network is home to some of the most influential voices in the industry.

A Caring Connection

  • I feel a connection with the host(s) of my favorite podcast: 43%

  • The host(s) of the podcast(s) I listen to care about their audience: 43%

  • The host(s) of my favorite podcast makes me feel like I'm less alone: 42%

  • Podcasts provide a community feeling that creates a deeper connection with the hosts: 40%

  • The hosts are more relatable than other media platforms: 38%

Testimonials From Health Podcast Listeners

When asked which mental health podcast shows or podcasts they enjoy listening to or watching:

  • "Mel Robbins—I like to listen to her because she also goes through depression and anxiety. She understands those people like myself who suffer from mental illness."

  • "The School of Greatness because it helps me personally and financially."

  • "One of my favorite mental health podcasts that I enjoy listening to is The Read. It discusses various topics surrounding mental health within the Black culture and community."

The Host-Listener Connection and the Brand-Consumer Relationship

It’s no secret that podcast hosts have an innate ability to generate awareness and influence action through the bonds they create within their listener communities. Their voices have a significant impact across the full funnel. From increased brand visibility to influencing listeners at the point of purchase, podcasts are the full package. More than one in two mental health podcast listeners say that podcasts have made them aware of new brands, products, or services, and one in three say they have a more favorable opinion of companies that advertise on their favorite podcasts —a clear advantage for brands looking to make an impact socially and monetarily.

Why Brands Should Contribute to the Conversation

Social values drive consumers to a brand, making it more important than ever for advertisers to take a stance on societal issues. More than one in two mental health podcast listeners say if a brand supports a mental health podcast, it shows they’re committed to driving awareness for mental health conditions. And as younger generations value transparency and authenticity, brands must integrate both meaning and purpose into their messaging strategy, establishing themselves as socially conscious and responsible entities. Through podcasts, brands can enhance their reputation, solidify customer loyalty, and gain the trust of consumers.

Support = Success

Social values are a prominent differentiator in the highly competitive landscape of advertising. Consumers are drawn to companies that serve a greater purpose outside increasing their bottom line, and podcasts offer brands that opportunity. So, if you’re looking to commit to the mental health community and join a cause that positively impacts society and drives success for your brand, look no further than the SiriusXM Podcast Network. Let’s talk.


  • 1.

    Nielsen Podcasting Today, May 2023 (Health & Fitness podcast genre listener growth from May 2019 to May 2023).

  • 2.

    SiriusXM Media Custom Survey, DISQO, April 2024. Based on Mental Health Podcast Listeners A18+ (N=407).

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