For more than a decade now, Howie Mandel has been an open book about struggling with mental health issues, namely Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which, in his case, shows itself through an irrational fear of germs. But the comedian wasn’t always so forthcoming about his conditions. “There was always a stigma attached to mental health issues,” Mandel, who wasn’t diagnosed until he was an adult, once said. “I’ve always felt a little bit different and I always knew I wasn’t as comfortable with life as everybody else seemed to be. But I didn’t know what I could do about it. When I was a kid I didn’t know anybody who went to a psychiatrist.”
And that’s why, in the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month, Mandel is making sure young people know it’s ok to speak out if they think they might be suffering with any number of mental health conditions. The America’s Got Talent judge and Deal Or No Deal host has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute’s campaign, #MyYoungerSelf. The concept is simple yet powerful: Mandel, along with other celebrities like Jay Leno, Lena Dunham, Emma Stone and more, share a homemade video wherein they explain how they grew up dealing with mental illness or a learning disorder (another cause the Child Mind Institute addresses throughout their work). They then explain what they would tell their younger selves.
In the video below, Mandel admits, “I have a lot of mental health issues.” More importantly, though, he urges young people not to hide their conditions. “Don’t be quiet. Tell people. Tell people, like ‘How can you help me?’ Talk to anybody. Anybody! A friend, a doctor, a parent,” Mandel says. “Not everybody’s going to understand, not everybody has an answer, but since I spoke out about it, I’ve gotten a lot of coping skills and I’m doing pretty well. A lot better than I was doing when I was younger.”
Throughout the entire month of May the Child Mind Institute will post a new video each day from a celebrity. You can already check out videos from Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Rachel Bloom, Lena Dunham, Wayne Brady and more.
“We are grateful to have so many notable figures participating in #MyYoungerSelf and speaking up about such an important topic,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Founding President of the Child Mind Institute. “I know that their inspiring stories will help millions of families open up about their own mental health and learning disorders and seek out the help their children deserve.”