An Edinburgh-based lifestyle and wellness blogger turned author has launched a podcast that aims to smash the stigma surrounding mental health issues while tackling often touchy subjects in a lighthearted way .
Jojo Fraser, 35, started her blog three years ago after her dad was hospitalised with severe depression. Looking for a way to understand what he was going through and to manage her own anxiety, she started writing, and Mummy Jojo the blog was born.
Watching her dad sink deeper into a depression that his family feared he might never recover from prompted Jojo, who has two children under the age of five, to start speaking out about mental illness. “What became clear was that many people were still scared to talk openly about mental health,” she said. “That needed to change.”
Soon Jojo’s dad started to smile again and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Jojo said: “I want to get the message across that there is hope and that 70 per cent of people can recover from mental health issues like depression.” For some, writing a blog and laying themselves bare online would be anxiety inducing but for Jojo, the opposite is true.
With thousands of readers and lots more to say Jojo decided to launch a podcast in the hopes of spreading her message to as many people as possible. Mummy Jojo Uncut – Mojo Injection has won her an army of new fans and a fleet of five-star reviews since the first episode aired at the end of May.
The former marketing and business executive has recorded 12 episodes so far, speaking to people about a range of issues including terminal cancer and facing the death of a loved one and Jojo has a waiting list of people eager to share their stories with a wider audience. She said: “I want people to have fun when they’re talking to me. The podcast aims to tackle the big issues in a lighthearted way and nothing is off limits.”
Jojo believes that her passion for raising awareness of mental health issues is why her blog, and now her podcast, is a success. She said: “Thinking about ways to highlight the issue keeps me awake at night, it’s so dear to me. I feel like there’s an urgency to act and we need to do more.”
She feels a responsibility to ensure that her readers and listeners are catered to and knows that the content so far has hit the spot. “So many people have reached out to me to share that they loved what they listened to or read on the blog”, she said.
She has raised over £8,000 for charity on sponsored runs which she took up so she could stave off stress as a mother of two and has recently started giving talks on mental health to primary school children. There is even a Mummy Jojo retreat in the works.
Her debut book, published in August, is a lifestyle and wellness book based in Edinburgh where she shares stories, tips and toolkits to help brace people for the inevitable strains that life can bring. “I’m not going to stop. There’s so much more we can do to help people.”