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Strength Check is a podcast hosted by Dr. Andy Wilczak about crime, mental health and Dungeons & Dragons.

Strength Check is a podcast hosted by Dr. Andy Wilczak about crime, mental health and Dungeons & Dragons.
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Strength Check is a podcast hosted by Dr. Andy Wilczak about crime, mental health and Dungeons & Dragons.




Episode 13: Lost Together

This week we talk about Giuseppe Petrosino and the label of Sherlock Holmes. Why aren't there more of them today? We also talk about mental health and dealing with the sense that we aren't doing enough when we very much (probably) are. Play for Progress on Discord! Strength Check @ Mages & Mentors on Discord! Play for Progress GoFundMe - E-mail the show: Follow the show on...


Episode 12: Let the Past Die

This week, we introduce the Black Hand Society, an organization that terrorized the U.S. in the early 20th century and talk about the development of gangs in America. We also talk about nostalgia and why we feel nostalgic about things and what it means, especially when those things are bad. It's important to tell these stories and we talk about why that is -- and what your story could mean to someone else. Play for Progress on Discord! Strength Check @ Mages &...


Episode 11: Anarchy and Dreams

What kind of world can we envision if not this one? Following up on our discussion of the assassination of President McKinley, we talk about what anarchy actually stands for and why it is that people think it is nothing but chaos. We also talk about the work of Natalie Goldberg and Dorothea Brande and what our obsessions and our dreams can do for us, that it's OK to have them, that they're valid, and that they're worth working towards even if they're not something that's going to make us...


Episode 10: Keep Star Wars Day In Your Heart All Year

We're recording on Star Wars Day, so this week's episode is a love letter to one of the most important stories in modern American mythology. The comic I mentioned: Star Wars: Always E-mail the show: Follow the show on Twitter: @StrengthCheck


Episode 9: Power in the Past

The Assassination of President McKinley seems like it should be an event that every American child is taught about, and that McKinley should be someone who is memorialized and maybe even deified in American culture. So why isn't he? What could possibly be lost by teaching people about his administration and his assassination? We discuss this and put out a call for participants this summer for a criminal justice themed D&D project. E-mail the show: Follow the...


Episode 8: Epic Fails

Gaming can teach us a lot about failure, and it's a lot more than just learning that you can't win all the time. Games can also show us that sometimes the system is rigged against us and that we're going to fail no matter how hard we try. And that's OK! Because failure is inevitable, we should feel free to take more chances. Failure isn't oppressing, it's liberating. We also take a few minutes this week to talk about the assassination of President William McKinley and the anarchy movement in...


Episode 7: Thanos Snapped

What is it that makes some people rise up in the moment? This week, we talk about how superhero stories are modern American mythologies and what these characters represent to us in the 21st century. Spoilers: it's more than just a throwaway popcorn movie for kids. There's a lot of hope that we're going to be able to take out of Avengers: Endgame no matter how the story ends. Plus, we introduce next week's talk on President William McKinley and talk about a future Play for Progress...


Episode 6: Making Choices

It's really common for people to feel constrained by the choices they've made and limited in the choices they can make in the future. In reality, we have a lot more options than we tend to realize we do. This is especially important for people who are suffering from mental health problems, past or current victimization, or substance use disorders -- and think their suffering is going to last forever -- to hear. Plus, we hear from a Play for Progress volunteer about why she thinks mental...


Episode 5: Stress, School, and Stanford White

It's ok to admit you're stressed and under a lot of pressure, and so this week we're going to talk about the power of taking inventory of your work and why it matters. Talking about our mental health publicly before the pressure gets too great can be helpful, especially when it gives us an opportunity to think about what we're actually trying to accomplish. Plus, we talk about the murder of Stanford White in 1906 and what we can learn from cases over a century old. Find The Girl on the...


Episode 4: Fight Forever

It's been a rough week because of the unrelenting weather and baffling and horrible violence around the world. Just like it's important to be mindful of your emotions and ask why you're responding to things the way you are, it's also important to think about how things outside your control are dragging you down, and how best to respond to this negativity: Love your people and fight forever. Plus, an update on the Play for Progress project and a quick introduction to a few of our first...


Episode 3: Sadness and Hope

In light of the sentencing of Paul Manafort and the public reaction to that, this week's episode discusses how important it is to understand our anger when we hear about criminal justice issues and to question why it is we're reacting the way we are - beyond just looking for revenge. This idea is talked about with regard to Al Capone, Kip Kinkel, and Jerry Sandusky, and how sad these stories are and how important it is to be hopeful in the face of such darkness. E-mail the show:...


Episode 2: Scott's Story and the Opiod Crisis

The opioid epidemic has claimed so many lives, but we don't get to hear the stories of people who've been lost nearly enough. This week, Andy talks about a personal loss and tries to understand the loss of a dear friend, and talks about how the opioid epidemic fits into other public health crises in the U.S. today. Plus, a brief update on Play for Progress and how Dungeons & Dragons can be used to help young people dealing with mental health problems. E-mail the show:...


Episode 1: People vs Bodies

The official launch of Strength Check! How much do we care about people? Are we concerned about people, or just their bodies? The cases of Elizabeth Short (the Black Dahlia) and Marty Bergen are discussed with this question in mind. What can we do better for each other? E-mail the show: Follow the show on Twitter: @StrengthCheck


Episode 0: Play for Progress Update

The unofficial introduction to Strength Check and a discussion of how Dungeons & Dragons might be used to help young people recovering from violence or living with mental health problems and a recap of introducing D&D to the Play for Progress volunteers and what happened during their very first campaign. E-mail the show: Follow the show on Twitter: @StrengthCheck