Mental wellness is one of the most urgent issues facing the world today, especially dire after the long isolation periods we’ve all had to endure during the global pandemic. But while some observe from the sidelines, others have dedicated their lives and resources to do something about it. A group of influential moms are walking the walk, joining forces to help and advocate for children‘s mental health. What these moms have in common is that their children are world famous actors, actresses and musicians whose talent know no bounds.
We hung out with Sharon Feldstein, mother of actors Jonah Hill and Beanie Feldstein, as well as with her life long friend and partner, Patsy Noah, mother of Adam Levine from Maroon 5. And who is our Latina link? Doris Dorenbaum, mostly known from Bravo’s ‘Mexican Dynasties’, and one of their collaborators and ‘core mom.’
The trio spoke with HOLA! USA and shared more about their fantastic organization, relationships with their stellar children and included some of their favorite moments with them. Get to know them better in this exclusive interview!
WE SPEAK WITH SHARON FELDSTEIN
After vetting many causes like homelessness and food insecurity, we talked to our kids about what they thought was an urgent cause that wasn‘t getting enough attention. They all said kids’ mental health. And if you look at other causes, like homelessness and food insecurity, children experiencing homelessness have mental health struggles, food insecurity can lead to anxiety, every cause will end up having a mental health component, even if it‘s temporary. Kids’ mental health is sadly one of the top issues of our time.
I am a very persuasive person as you know, lol, especially when it comes to a cause as important as taking care of kids. So, I did what I do best - guilt, begging, laughing and basically saying, when you have a super power like influential kids, you must use that super power for good. All the moms said yes.
Anxiety and depression is running rampant, kids as young as 5 years old struggling. The number 2 cause of death in this country for kids ages 10 and above is suicide. End of story. If we don‘t address the tsunami of kids’ mental health issues now, suicide could be the number 1 cause of death sooner rather than later and that‘s just unacceptable, they’re babies. We all must do something.
I am extremely proud of my kids‘ talent and what they have accomplished but I’m mostly proud of them because they are incredibly good and caring human beings.
What I‘ve learned is that who they are is who I aspire to be. That sounds funny, but they literally teach me every day so I’ve learnt that sometimes the student is the teacher and I‘ve had the good fortune of incredible students to learn from.
Talk about the student being the teacher! Jonah in my humble opinion is a style icon. I don‘t think I’ve dressed him since he was 6 years old. He has incredible taste and vision. He‘s always changing and I adore his style. Beanie’s style has evolved over the years and I must say I‘m very impressed with her taste level and fashion choices. Beanie and I do love to shop together and usually give each other opinions on what we’re buying.
I would say that every issue in the world that has a stigma attached to it started with people being afraid to talk about it. When I was younger it was divorce, cancer and then AIDS. Now it‘s mental health. The more you talk about something, the more you normalize it. Pre-pandemic it was really taboo to talk about your or your kids’ mental health but right now, it‘s the “it” topic. This is progress. There are too many people thought, that are still afraid to talk about it and that’s why YourMomCares is using its voice to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health.
We are most excited about the groundbreaking digital behavioral health tool that YourMomCares has 100% funded, called RxWell. The results from Phase 1 of our research with University of Pittsburgh Children‘s Hospital Foundation are staggering and the potential is limitless to change how we treat anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation in kids. We’re now working on Phase 2 which will result in hopefully making this a standard treatment available to all kids, regardless of their circumstances, nationwide.
WE SPEAK WITH PATSY NOAH
After participating in our PSA for The Affordable Health Care Act and meeting with President Obama in 2014, Sharon recognized that YourMomCares, which appeared at the end of the PSA, was a very marketable brand for an important emergent cause. A few years later when we started vetting all the great issues of the day, we landed on kids‘ mental health, a mission our kids were most passionate about. Aha! That’s when I knew I wanted to get involved.
We love to get volunteer inquiries on our website www.yourmomcares.org and discover synergy with other individuals and/or organizations. We also love to receive donations to help us fund our work.
Adam’s musical talent comes partially from my brother, but also from my mom, who sang with a big band when she was a teenager! My favorite song has always been She Will Be Loved.
I‘m a hands-on grandmother as often as possible. I love quiet time with them drawing, painting, playing games and cards, and, at dinner, watching them navigate using chopsticks!
He’s an amazing dad.
None! When a kid is driven to do something, you can guide him, but in my case, as a mom, I knew he was going to do what he was going to do. And very luckily, it worked out!
WE SPEAK WITH DORIS DORENBAUM
I met Sharon more than 25 years ago, our daughters Joella and Beanie had a dance/acting class together. I fell in love with Sharon immediately but lost touch for some years. Luckily we reconnected at a YMC event I was invited to attend, and I knew then I wanted to join her amazing cause immediately.
After a lovely lunch at Barneys in NYC, I told Sharon I would help her in any capacity and especially get the voice out to the Latin community. Since then, I‘ve been an active “core mom” of YMC.
Mental Health is just now beginning to be a priority for the Latino community. As a patriarchal, very macho oriented society, mental health was (and it still is) looked at as a weakness. We are expected to “suck it up”. More recently though, because of the younger and wiser generations, Mental wellness is at the forefront of most conversations. In Latin-American, as well as throughout the world, there is a mental health crisis: suicide, depression, anxiety- and more and more people are actively talking about it, trying to navigate it with the proper tools, and search the resources they need to get better.We are slowly but surely on our way.
As I mentioned before, the conversation about Mental wellness is slowly becoming the most important issue within the Latin communities. That said, we still need to have a lot more support and resources to manage and improve mental wellness in the Latino societies. YMC can be instrumental in partnering with Mental Healthcare facilities not only in Mexico, but perhaps worldwide one day.
I’m not going to lie; I often worry about them. It is a tough moment for young adults. They lost their ability to socialize the way they were used to. Dating is different, if blind dating is tough, imagine “masked dating” Still, I believe that a strong foundation with strong family values will be enough to carry them through this difficult period in their lives.
When my kids were little, they refused to speak Spanish. In fact, whenever my son played soccer, we were “forbidden” to cheer in Spanish (he was embarrassed). But my husband and I were extremely adamant that they speak both languages and today they are both incredibly thankful that they are multilingual. It has opened a world of opportunity for them.
I think that the suicide, anxiety and depression epidemic are universal, meaning the Latin families don’t stand out with one or the other. It is a global and urgent crisis that must be attended to. I am happy that I am involved and can help in any way I can. This is an ongoing battle and we have a long road ahead.
I would absolutely do it again! I have so many great memories of the show, but what I enjoyed the most was spending time with my family and friends in Mexico. I‘ve often been approached by fans and even producers who want to revamp the show. You never know, it may happen again soon!