Erica Heilman

Independent Producer

Erica Heilman produces a podcast called Rumble Strip. Her shows have aired on NPR’s Day to Day, Hearing Voices, SOUNDPRINT, KCRW’s UnFictional, BBC Podcast Radio Hour, CBC Podcast Playlist and on public radio affiliates across the country. Rumble Strip airs monthly on VPR. She lives in East Calais, Vermont.

Ways to Connect

A wall of taxidermy along a wall at Currier's Quality Market in Glover.
Erica Heilman / For VPR

The heart of Glover village is one short strip of Route 16 in Orleans County, and it's there where Currier's Quality Market has been a community institution since 1908. You can buy food, gas, hardware, hunting supplies and clothing — but to outsiders, Currier’s is best known for its collection of taxidermy.

A drawn portrait of Abbie Holden.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"When you have anxiety, or chronic depression, your mind is constantly going. And I tried opiates and realized that my brain was just quiet for a little bit."

A drawn portrait of Sally Greeno.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"When you're told over and over, 'Your child's a problem child — he's bad, he's bad, he's bad, he's bad!' ... You believe your kid's bad."

A drawn portrait of Mark LeGrand.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"There were three things you could be good at: fighting, drinking or sports. So, I stink at sports. I can't fight. But I guess I can drink."

A drawn portrait of Mike Lucier.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"You’re right, I probably do deserve to be in jail the rest of my life. Or, I do deserve to give my life for hers. But since I can’t, let’s save somebody else’s life."

A drawn portrait of Dr. Javad Mashkuri with the text Emergency Room written next to the illustration.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"I think in the past, people would say, 'Look. People don’t want to talk about this.' ... And the truth is, people want to talk about this stuff, if you give them the right forum."

A drawn portrait of Kate O'Neill.
Illustration: Janelle Sing | Design: Angela Evancie

"We're not alone. People who have this addiction, and people who love people who have this addiction — we're not alone."

My Heart Still Beats logo. Text says VPR My Heart Still Beats, a project of Writers for Recovery and has illustrations of six people.
Janelle Sing

A six-part series from Writers for Recovery and Vermont Public Radio, featuring voices from Vermont's recovery community. Coming February 25. 

A painting against a dark backdrop of an extended wing leading back toward a person.
Painter: Alexis Kyriak, courtesy

Both Alexis and Steve were diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is the story about how meaningful, paid work plays a role in their recovery.

Leslie Nelson sits in front of a wall, looking at the camera. Posters are hung up behind.
Barbara Heilman

Leslie Nelson has heard voices for as long as she can remember. She sees things other people don’t see. This is a conversation about what it’s like to be normal, from Leslie’s point of view, and the incredible power of finding people like herself to talk with about their normal lives with mental illness.

The words They Are Us in yellow and red on a black background
Aaron Shrewsbury For VPR

A story about Vermont’s only permanent, supervised housing for people with serious mental illness.

Anne Donahue mid-swing with a bat on a field
Anne Donahue, courtesy

How should people live long term in our state if they have a serious mental illness? The hope is that they’ll find ways to integrate into their communities with support, but that’s proven tough to accomplish. In this show we look at the challenges in our community mental health care system.

The words They Are Us in yellow and red on a black background
Aaron Shrewsbury For VPR

This is a story about what it’s like, day to day, year to year, to be a parent of an adult child living with schizophrenia.

A view of stairs looking up to a light.
Itsh / iStock

There are Vermonters who experience psychiatric crises for years — and repeated visits to emergency rooms and psychiatric hospitals. Where do they go when they leave the hospital? And why do they keep coming back? This is a story about the role housing plays in mental health.

Sarah Holland standing outside.
Erica Heilman / For VPR

In her early thirties, Sarah Holland started suffering from major depression, the result of childhood sexual trauma. In the years that followed, she lost her job and her family. This is the story of her struggle — and her recovery from major depression.

The words They Are Us in yellow and red on a black background
Aaron Shrewsbury For VPR

They Are Us is a seven-part special series about mental health in Vermont, airing on VPR the week of Nov. 12. Each episode will highlight personal stories from inside the state's mental health care system.

The kids of Randolph, Vermont.
Erica Heilman / Rumble Strip

The kids of Randolph, Vermont describe their neighborhood as a place with three purple houses. They tell me there’s a shortcut through the woods down to Dunkin’ Donuts, and they say it’s pretty close to three graveyards. The kids run in twos and threes and sometimes in one big pack for a game of hide and seek tag.
I spent an afternoon talking with them and following them around. This show is a little taste of that day. It’s a postcard from childhood, a place we remember but can’t visit anymore.

Scott Carrier wearing sunglasses and holding a lighter.
Erica Heilman / Rumble Strip

The police log is a periodic roundup of some of the more exciting police activity in central Vermont. In this Rumble Strip episode, radio producer Scott Carrier reads reports made to local police.

Carl Blaisdell sits in the drivers seat of a vehicle.
Erica Heilman / Rumble Strip

Carl Blaisdell's trailer looks out over the farm he ran for most of his life, then sold. After farming, Carl seemed to make a smooth transition to being a "mountain man," which is how he described himself — and the name pretty much fits.

St. Johnsbury Academy electrical program students gather around a table at the Brantview dorm.
Erica Heilman / Rumble Strip

At St. Johnsbury Academy, career technical education is a serious business, and student work is there for all to see, and use, and taste.