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Tina Hallock hopes to normalize mental health with "No Need to Explain" podcast

<p>Tina and Kevin Hallock. <em>Photo courtesy of the University of Richmond.</em></p>

Tina and Kevin Hallock. Photo courtesy of the University of Richmond.

Tina Hallock is on a mission to normalize mental health -- one podcast episode at a time. 

The mother of two -- and wife to University of Richmond President Kevin Hallock -- began the “No Need to Explain” podcast with her longtime friend Serena Ward, a fellow mother and mental health advocate.

“Every one of our episodes has something to do with normalizing mental health, whether it's addiction or sexual assault or first responder mental health,” Hallock said. "We have so many episodes that have touched so many people in so many ways that I have people who are contacting us who are young people, who are older people with no children, who are grandmas. It's just resonating with various people.” 

Hallock and Ward released the trailer episode of their podcast, created for parents of children who struggle with their mental health, on Nov. 29. "No Need to Explain" is not a substitute for mental health care, Hallock said, and several resources for support are listed on their website

"We understand how isolating it can feel to have a child who struggles," Hallock said in the podcast's trailer. "While well-meaning people try to relate and understand, it often falls short. We are here to help you feel that connection with others who understand and totally get it." 

The duo also co-runs Mental Health Mamas, a blog that offers support to caregivers of children who struggle with mental health. They have written numerous reflective pieces on the website regarding mental health, which Hallock finds cathartic when she has something on her mind, she said. 

The two stumbled upon the perfect name that encapsulated the message of their podcast in a reflective piece Hallock wrote four years ago. 

“I have a friend who I've had for about 20 years," Hallock said. "She was a mom with me, and she has two children who significantly struggle with their emotional health. I wrote in the piece, ‘When I'm with this friend, there is literally no need to explain, she just gets me.’” 

Prior to Mental Health Mamas, Hallock and Ward worked together as peer supports for Racker, a nonprofit that supports parents of children who struggled with their emotional health, she said. They have now been working together for seven years, Hallock said. 

“I remember meeting her and [she] just profoundly changed my life,” she said. “I think when you have struggles and you connect with someone who understands you, you're literally not alone in the world anymore.” 

When the two moms supported parents before the pandemic, they would meet face to face, Hallock said. Now, they have had to pivot their meetings, as parents have children who are constantly at home. 

“It was kind of summer of the pandemic and we thought, ‘what do we do?’” she said. “‘How do we shift? We feel like we're not being particularly effective.’”

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Initially, the pair started a book club, but that still presented challenges with families at home, so they decided to pursue podcasting, Hallock said. 

“And so we just took a leap of faith and said, ‘Let's do this thing,’” she said. ‘“Let's just do it and see what happens.’” 

With over 40 episodes offered on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, Hallock and Ward have now moved on to their second season of “No Need to Explain.”

“It will be a year coming up that we put this thing out into the world," Hallock said. "And it has touched people in ways that I could never imagine.” 

Contact news co-editor Ryan Hudgins at ryan.hudgins@richmond.edu.

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