Based in Bognor Regis, Radio Respect is run by a team of volunteers who are dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues, offering support and sharing their own experiences
Radio Respect was launched in 2013 by Caroline and Chris Collins, first broadcasting from the confines of their garden shed. They recognised that while awareness of mental health was growing, there was a void that needed to be filled.
The online radio station is hosted by a team of dedicated volunteers, who offer support for people dealing with mental health issues, as well as wellbeing advice and information about available support and healthcare organisations.
Speaking to the BBC, Radio Respect presenter and hip-hop artist Adam Turner revealed his own struggles and experiences working on the show. “I’m a sufferer of anxiety and depression myself,” he said. “I’ve helped a lot of people out that have been in pretty dark places.”
“It can be anyone. We have people tweeting. We have a phone line there that you can ring and something other than, you know, swallowing tablets everyday to get you through the day.
“If I can deliver something with my music that’s going to touch somebody in here that’s going to make them feel something, then in my mind I’ve made a difference.”
Founder Chris Collins said: “Peoples’ mental health doesn’t stop at a quarter past four. We don’t close, we’re here.
“Everybody here, including myself, suffers with mental health and that puts us in the ideal position to sit down with somebody and say: ‘Look this is how I cope.’
“When people are first diagnosed with mental health, there’s a long, long process waiting for referrals, and it’s during that time where you are in limbo. Radio Respect is for those people.”
As well as the station, Radio Respect also have a record shop and encourage anyone seeking mental health support or advice to come in for a browse and sit down with a cup of tea and talk to those who know all too well what they are going through.
“Thinking back, I’ve been suffering with depression and anxiety all my life,” says volunteer Rene. “We are a really big family. If somebody needs an ear to listen to, you’ve got it. I try to give the same to people who come in here.”
Earlier this year, Radio Respect formed a partnership with their local job centre to support and prepare those looking for work. Clients can now visit Radio Respect HQ for mental health support and advice, as well as work experience, gaining the skills they need to get back into work and help reduce feelings of isolation.
“It makes me feel super. I almost feel like a superhero. A superhero to the community,” says Adam.
Radio Respect has big plans for the future, including moving to a larger shop space, updating studio equipment and hopefully gaining an FM licence.
Talking to someone about your mental health problems can be incredibly daunting - even worse when they don't understand. Read our article How to Talk about Mental Health with Someone Who Doesn't Understand for advice.
If you're interested in volunteering for Radio Respect, contact them on their website. For volunteer opportunities in your local area, visit the National Council For Voluntary Organisations. Volunteering can have many benefits - for the community and yourself. Read How Volunteering Benefits our Mental Health.
For more information about mental health and the support available, visit Counselling Directory. You can also search for therapists in your area by entering your location in the box below.