With a million followers on YouTube and a strong fan following thanks to her work as an actor on popular shows including The Big Bang TheoryBlossom and a new 2021 Fox sitcom called Call Me Kat, Mayim Bialik decided to use her reach — and her doctorate in neuroscience — to share what she knows about mental health.

“During the quarantine, I realized that many people who had already been struggling with mental health challenges were seeing an increase in those challenges,” Bialik, the mother of two boys, said in an interview for CNET’s Now What? series. 

“And many people who had previously never really acknowledged or experienced mental health challenges all of a sudden were saying, ‘What is this feeling?’ ‘What is happening?’ ‘Why can’t I sleep?’ ‘Why can’t I eat?’ ‘Why do I have racing, scary thoughts?’ Many people were asking me the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks during last year.”

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Storm Santos

The result is a new podcast, called Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown, which she co-created with her partner, Jonathan Cohen. The series name, she says with a laugh, was so that she could introduce each show by saying “Welcome to my Breakdown.” But she turns more serious when she talks about her goal: to demystify mental health issues and, with the help of guests, talk openly about the stress, uncertainty, fear and other emotions that have come to the fore as we’re all living through a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

“The main concept is that it is a human right for us to know about mental health, to even know what we’re experiencing, what to call it, what it means, what to expect if you do get help, how to get help, why it’s hard to get help,” she says from her home in Los Angeles. 

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“The idea is not to have a show about a celebrity who’s figured it all out and here are the amazing things that I do. I’m a person who’s still on a path and on a path of recovery. Many of us are still struggling, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not information that we can share, and the idea is to talk to experts in the field and people who are experts in their own journey.”

To that end, she’s talked to comedian and actor Iliza Shlesinger about coping with the stress of being a female stand-up comedian, in an episode entitled “Hurts To Be Awesome: Mind Body Syndrome,” and to Bill Prady, co-creator of The Big Bang Theory, about the quirks and challenges of being on the autism spectrum and his journey from “awkward child and teen to well-adjusted, if eccentric, adult.”

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She also offers some “layperson” guidance on coping with anxiety. For those overwhelmed by the crazy news cycle, Bialik says, one of the simplest solutions that doesn’t involve medication is to “turn down the volume on what you take in.” She recommends avoiding “conversations about what’s going on with people who make you feel agitated or yucky.” 

In addition, Bialik talked about why it’s important to turn off your brain for even seven minutes a day to help reduce your stress and why, as a parent, she’s learned to lighten up as to what she expects of her kids. That’s reduced everyone’s stress level at home, she adds with a laugh. “The notion of only two hours of screen time went out the window.” 

Now What is a video interview series with industry leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers trends impacting businesses and consumers amid the “new normal.” There will always be change in our world, and we’ll be here to discuss how to navigate it all. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.



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