May is Mental Health awareness month. It’s actually perfect timing because my husband Juan has just released the first episode of Happy to Fail, a podcast about his experiences with mental health.
Happy to Fail will follow Juan’s road to wellness and sharing how he’s overcome (and still overcoming) challenges related to mental health. We need to work on reducing mental health stigma and being more open about talking about these topics and resources like this podcast are definitely a step in the right direction.
I asked Juan if I could ask him a few questions about the podcast that I could share on here, and he happily obliged. So let’s dive a little bit deeper into some of the reasons this podcast exists and the workflow behind it.
When did you decide you were ready to talk about chapters of your life and mental health experiences with others?
Juan: I’ve always been fairly open about my challenges with mental health. I remember being in radio, newspaper and televisión interviews when I was around 12 to 14 years old. To me, sharing my story was a way of showing that I was conquering my problems instead of hiding them under a rug. Was it easy to share my story? More often than not it wasn’t, but that’s where I focused on building up my motivation for future opportunities.
Is Happy to Fail going to be a continuous podcast or will you divide it into “seasons”?
Juan: Things can always change, but as of this moment HTF will be divided into seasons consisting of 14 episodes. I try to balance each episode out by sharing the darker moments of my life, as well as the resources that have helped me along the way. I’ll keep everyone up-to-date at juanvelezcourt.com regarding the show and season breaks.
How do you prepare before recording each episode?
Juan: The first thing I do is decide on the title of each episode. I have all 14 already written out, and then I ask myself “What’s the purpose of this episode? What do I want people to understand and feel?”. Based on that I make adjustments on the order of episodes, and then I write around 10 talking-points for each episode.
What has been your favorite thing about creating this podcast and recording episodes? What has been the most difficult?
Juan: Even though the Podcast just launched as I answer these questions, I already feel like it’s been a success for my own wellbeing. It’s allowed me to reflect on who I was and who I’ve become. It’s easy to forget the bad moments from your past because we tend to erase them, but being able to look at them head-on and smile knowing you’re better than that is incredibly motivating.
The most difficult part about HTF is that I don’t know how I’m going to react or what the tone will be like for each episode. I can have an idea of what it’ll be like, but as I talk I let my emotions flow and make sure I’m as real and genuine as possible.
Another difficult past is having a camera present as I record. I was initially going to do audio-only for the show, but decided to integrate video because I want people to see and hear my reactions and emotions.
From the content you’ve produced for Happy to Fail so far, which one is your favorite? Why?
Juan: I’ve already recorded the first five episodes, and I have to say the 3rd is my favorite so far. The first two set the tone for the show, and I was also beginning to understand what I wanted to present and how. I feel much more comfortable now so I can’t wait to record the new few, as well as get feedback from everyone watching or listening.
Where can you listen/watch?
I’m incredibly proud of Juan, sharing your experiences and struggles relating to your wellness and/or mental health can be difficult. I hope you can give the podcast a listen and hopefully stick around. We can all learn from each other. Most importantly, empathy, especially regarding mental health, can make the world a better place.