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News Release

Glass Gateway podcast series gives voice to Saskatchewan youth experiencing substance use and mental health issues

Release Date: June 26, 2023 3:00 PM

With crystal methamphetamine (meth) use at crisis levels, Dr. Kara Fletcher, an associate professor in the University of Regina’s Faculty of Social Work, is trying to help the province’s most vulnerable youth population. And she’s doing it by handing them a microphone.

Fletcher and her team joined with Saskatchewan youth to create a series of podcasts called Glass Gateway, giving them a platform to talk about their lived experiences.

“Young people need to know they’re not alone, and that their lives matter,” says Fletcher. “Through the podcast, youth have interviewed people on issues important to them. While the podcast is all about substance use and mental health issues from a youth perspective, it also provides the public with an inside look at what it’s like to navigate these issues in Saskatchewan, and an opportunity to empathize with the world these young people inhabit.”

“Maybe it will deter others from ever picking up meth or give one person a kinder interaction than they might have gotten before the podcast,” says Glass Gateway community researcher Alex, who is also a participant in the podcasts and requested that his last name not be used.

Alex is part of a team of researchers that has produced four podcast episodes set for release beginning on Wednesday, June 28 with episodes being released every other week. The podcasts will be available on Spotify and anywhere else you get your podcasts.

Following each episode, listeners are invited to head to the Glass Gateway website or the podcast’s show notes to fill out a short survey to help the team better understand what listeners learned and what they still want to know.

A public event launching the first podcast will be held:

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Station 20 West
1120 20th St W, Saskatoon

Media are welcome to attend the event in person, or by Zoom, by registering here.

The podcast project has also had a positive impact on members of the community research team.

“Working on Glass Gateway has profoundly affected my life, from encouraging my sobriety to furthering my thinking around mental health and addiction. I am infinitely grateful for being a part of this project,” says Sadie, who is featured in the podcasts and has requested that her last name not be used.

Alex and Sadie are hosting the launch event, which will also include an audio promo of the podcast. They will be joined by guest speaker Brad Siroski, a Saskatoon-based addictions counsellor.

Fletcher says the podcast is just a starting point, “our goal is to have the shame and stigma attached to substance use and mental health issues replaced with compassion and understanding. We need a world where people who use drugs have the ability to inform drug policy, and have access to safe supply, support, and resources to live the lives they want to live.”

This project was made possible thanks to funding from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant.

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Everett Dorma
University Advancement & Communications
Phone: 306-337-8451

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