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As mental-health issues spike globally, Chai Lifeline Canada launches ‘life-changing’ podcast to help people cope

The organization launched a podcast called “ON AIR with CHAI” to draw on its experiences and bring inspiration, hope, resilience and strength to anyone going through a tough time, no matter what the challenge.

Bryan Strasberg (left) and Mordechai Rothman, On Air with CHAI podcast hosts.
Bryan Strasberg (left) and Mordechai Rothman, On Air with CHAI podcast hosts.

When you’ve spent the last 15 years supporting families with seriously ill kids, you learn a few things about helping people deal with challenges. So when the world saw a spike in mental-health incidents recently—by as much as 25% globally, according to the World Health Organization—leading charity Chai Lifeline Canada did something about it.

The organization launched a unique podcast, called “ON AIR with CHAI,” to draw on its experiences and bring inspiration, hope, resilience and strength to anyone going through a tough time, no matter what their challenge.

“Anxiety and depression are on the rise, with studies pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic, upsurge in social media, and people having less community involvement as the cause,” said Mordechai Rothman, executive director of Chai Lifeline Canada and co-host of the podcast. “The common theme here is that people have much less human connection than in the past and it’s affecting their state of mind. Our podcast aims to bring back that connection and instill a sense of positivity and hope by sharing stories and advice from real people who have seen sadness transform into joy even in the most dire circumstances.”

With the podcast’s pilot season just completed—attracting hundreds of listeners and rave reviews—season two has just begun. Co-hosted by producer Bryan Strasberg, episodes feature one-hour-long interviews with parents of seriously or terminally ill children, Chai Lifeline therapists and support workers, and leading medical professionals.

“We discuss the unthinkable and topics no one wants to face, with the goal of demonstrating that resilience is possible no matter what someone’s diagnosis or challenge in life,” Rothman said, describing the podcast as “life-changing.”

“Whether someone is seeking guidance in the face of personal challenges, looking to broaden their understanding of resilience and adversity, or simply yearning for thought-provoking, life-enriching conversations, our podcast offers practical tools, profound perspectives, and a renewed sense of hope,” he said.

Rothman explained that the decision to launch the podcast was made because he feels his organization can really make a difference in people’s lives, helping them to weather any storm and emerge stronger.

“Chai Lifeline knows intimately about overcoming anxiety and depression in the face of challenges; we have daily proof that it’s possible and want to share our secrets to success with the world,” he said. “For the first time, we’re making public the collective intelligence of our experienced staff, who bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding about the human condition and navigating difficult circumstances to the table in order to bring about tangible and lasting change.”

The ON AIR with CHAI podcast can be accessed on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and online at https://chailifelinecanada.org/on-air-with-chai/.

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With 535 volunteers helping 400 children and 2,000 family members, Chai Lifeline Canada provides dozens of free initiatives and emotional support to sick kids, their siblings and parents to keep them from feeling alone and devastated, and find hope and joy in their lives. Programs include counseling, volunteer support to bring an extra measure of adult attention and stability to children’s lives, tutoring for kids missing extended periods of school, family retreats, sibling programs, peer and professional support, and summer camps for sick kids that help families retain a sense of normalcy and hope while fighting even the most dire pediatric diseases. More information can be found at: www.chailifelinecanada.org.
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