For Kimberly Berry, this is personal.
Berry, a 41-year-old Camas single mother of two, hosts “Being Unnormal,” a podcast that traverses topics related to mental health. It was born from the experience of raising two daughters with mental health special needs, both of whom have been in mental health crisis care.
Berry came up with the podcast idea in February. Her first episode, dropped in June, was about suicide, following the death by suicide of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Their deaths were the push Berry needed to finally make the podcast a reality. She has since done nearly 20 episodes, which come out on a weekly basis.
“I know there are other people out there in pain that feel isolated, alone. That feel clueless, dealing with the same stuff I’m dealing with,” Berry said. “As I started connecting with people online, and within the community, I knew that there was a missing component, here locally and nationwide.”
The podcast hits a range of topics, and Berry always has a guest who’s trained in the field of the topic. The guest is generally from the Portland metro area, since Berry says she tries to keep the podcast “as homegrown as possible.” Berry prepares some talking points ahead of time, but the tone is always conversational, and Berry tries to mix personal experiences with professional expertise.
She’s discussed attention deficit disorder and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and depression with therapists, substance use recovery with an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and even adultery with a relationship counselor.