"I think both my husband and I have been honest about our struggles because we want to set an example for our girls," Bell said.
You need to be a super parent to explain the complexities of mental health to your child. Kristan Bell, 42, is one such parent. She told TODAY that she addresses mental health with daughters Lincoln, 9, and Delta, 8, "very openly and honestly." Talking to the outlet as part of her role as Mental Health Ambassador for Hers, a women's health site, Bell further said, "I think both my husband and I have been honest about our struggles because we want to set an example for our girls."
Bell explained that she feels that by being honest with their daughters, they are teaching them how to check in with themselves and manage their mental health well. "That vulnerability should be respected and encouraged and it will bring you closer to people," Bell said, adding that the openness included her husband, Dax Shepard, and his sobriety journey. Shepherd, 48, started getting sober in 2004. "My husband has been very open and honest about his recovery," Bell said. "(The girls) know what alcoholism is, they know what different kinds of drugs are and they know why some are illegal and why some aren’t, and they know exactly what happens in an AA meeting, (and) they know the twelve steps," she added.
She also discussed how using breathing exercises has been monumental in regulating the mental health of her daughters and herself. She added, "With my girls, at their school, they learn a bunch of different breathing techniques, which we do at home." She continued, "So if they're getting panicked, I go, 'Do you need to regulate? Do you need help?' And we’ll sit down on the floor and do a box breath."
She also told TODAY how she discusses her mental health medications with her daughters. She said, "I think I described the pill that I take at night when they saw me take it as broccoli for my brain." She added, "I felt like that was a decent comparison. 'This is what keeps my brain healthy. Not everybody needs this'." Bell also said that their family is "very big into regulation" and helping both children understand when they’re regulated and when they need to regulate.
This is not the first time Bell has discussed the issue of mental health candidly. According to Scary Mommy, in 2019, she discussed how sometimes she has felt the pressure to be bright and bubbly and her depression and anxiety medications have helped in negating the unrealistic expectation. “I’m like ‘bubbles, glitter!’” she joked. “No, it’s not always that way. I am someone who takes medication for her anxiety and depression. I am someone who has to check myself and sometimes, if I’m feeling really low make a checklist of good and bad things in my life to see if it’s my mental state or if we have a problem,” she added.
This method is still used by Bell, as she told TODAY, "My technique is if the anxiety is infiltrating every other area of my life, then I know it deserves some extra attention." She added, "For instance, if I can’t stop thinking about an issue with my kids while I’m at work, or I’m more anxious when I’m at work that’s how I know that it’s not acute and that it’s a more broad situation."
Bell is surely giving us all some food for thought!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo By Frazer Harrison