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Mayim Bialik says we need to talk more about mental health

For Mental Health Awareness Month, actor, neuroscientist and podcast host Mayim Bialik's Breakdown, talks about stress, fear, isolation and coping in a post-pandemic world.

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Connie Guglielmo SVP, AI Edit Strategy
Connie Guglielmo is a senior vice president focused on AI edit strategy for CNET, a Red Ventures company. Previously, she was editor in chief of CNET, overseeing an award-winning team of reporters, editors and photojournalists producing original content about what's new, different and worth your attention. A veteran business-tech journalist, she's worked at MacWeek, Wired, Upside, Interactive Week, Bloomberg News and Forbes covering Apple and the big tech companies. She covets her original nail from the HP garage, a Mac the Knife mug from MacWEEK, her pre-Version 1.0 iPod, a desk chair from Next Computer and a tie-dyed BMUG T-shirt. She believes facts matter.
Expertise I've been fortunate to work my entire career in Silicon Valley, from the early days of the Mac to the boom/bust dot-com era to the current age of the internet, and interviewed notable executives including Steve Jobs. Credentials
  • Member of the board, UCLA Daily Bruin Alumni Network; advisory board, Center for Ethical Leadership in the Media
Connie Guglielmo
2 min read
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Mayim Bialik says she grew up in a house with a tremendous amount of mental health challenges, which is why she knows those challenges can spill over both genetically and environmentally to the next generation. 

So the mother of two decided to do something about it. The award-winning actor, who you may know as nerdy neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory and as the title character in the TV teen sitcom Blossom, also has a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA. Which is why while the world was in covid lockdown, Bialik sketched out an idea for a new podcast series. Called Mayim Bialik's Breakdown, which she co-created with her partner, Jonathan Cohen, the podcast aims to interview a well-known guest to talk openly about the stress, uncertainty, fear, isolation and other emotions that have come to the fore as we're all living through the coronavirus pandemic

Since launching in January, she's talked to Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton about trauma, depression and self-discovery. She's interviewed Sal Khan, the creator of Khan Academy, about stress, standardized tests and new approaches to education. And she asked Grammy-winning singer Hayley Williams of the rock band Paramore about uncovering a mind-body connection after getting out of a traumatic relationship.

"It's been a real exploration of each person's approach to mental health, with an eye towards educating people," Bialik tells me for CNET's I'm So Obsessed interview series. The podcast name, she tells me with a laugh, is so she can introduce each show by saying "Welcome to my breakdown." But then she gets serious.

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"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," Bialik says.

I also talked with her about how technology, such an important lifeline while we've been sequestered this past year, is affecting our mental health, both in good ways and bad. One of her recommendations:  "turning down the volume on what you take in," whether that's stepping away from your devices and the news cycle or skipping out on conversations with people, including family members, "who make you feel agitated or yucky."

You can listen to my conversation with Bialik on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can also subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.

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.