Comedian Howie Mandel appeared on CNN in February to discuss his battles with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).
“As a child I didn’t know that these things even existed,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “I know, intellectually, that if I shake somebody’s hand that I’m not going to get sick and die.” But as a child, he said, “it was an incredible amount of pressure, an incredible amount of isolation.”
OCD is a fairly common mental health disorder affecting up to 3 percent of adolescents and over two million people just in the U.S.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “a child or adolescent with OCD has obsessive thoughts that are unwanted and related to fears (such as a fear of touching dirty objects) and uses compulsive rituals to control the fears (such as excessive hand washing).” Symptoms of OCD often become so intense that they interfere with seemingly normal, daily routines.
Mandel appeared on the show as an advocate for better mental health resources, particularly for children. “We don’t take care of our mental health,” he said. More awareness and better preventative care for mental health, said Mandel, “is the solution for making this world better.”