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Music Industry Sophomore Changing the Conversation about Mental Health

The New Normal Podcast Logo

April 15, 2021

Andre Pak, a sophomore in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Music Industry program, co-created the podcast The New Normal, which aims to destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health and share non-confrontational approaches to start talking about mental health with parents. The podcast is a project of Creative Resilient Youth (CRY), a collective of young adults who use art to address gaps in mental health dialogues.


Founded in 2018 and based on the adult Creative Resilience Collective (CRC), CRY’s teen-led programming typically includes in-person meetings, collective exhibition-building, and creative mentorships with adult facilitators. In March of 2020, however, CRY was forced to pivot to a new strategy to support its members and achieve its goals. Rather than producing a public exhibition, CRY members, including Andre, began producing The New Normal. Made by and for teens, CRY’s New Normalpodcast seeks to address urgent topics related to teen mental health and life in quarantine. The first episode, “Drugs in Quarantine,” explores the relationship between drug use and mental health.


New research continues to reveal the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns on mental health, particularly among teens and young people. With the podcast, Andre and his collaborators hope to open discussions about vulnerable topics like anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma in youth populations—and to sustain such discussions past the end of the pandemic.


Andre and the podcast are the subject of a feature article in The Philadelphia Inquirer.


You can find The New Normal on Spotify, YouTube, and Soundcloud.