The America’s Got Talent judge, who battles depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a strong advocate for ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“We take care of our dental health,” he told Jay Leno in 2014. “We don’t take care of our mental health.”
He claimed that so much of the taboo surrounding mental health issues was due to the lack of education in American society surrounding these problems.
“We are so behind in the world as to not have something in place that just teaches everyone how to cope,” the former Deal or No Deal host added. “I think the solution to making this world better is if we would just be healthy, mentally.”
Mandel has particularly focused on sharing his experience with OCD, which is characterized by intrusive thoughts, followed by “compulsions” to temporarily rid or soothe themselves of the thoughts, per Mayo Clinic. (If one’s OCD focuses on contamination or germs, as in the Bobby’s World creator’s case, they may obsessively wash their hands countless times until raw.) For Mandel, he copes with his OCD by shaving his head and greeting people with his now-iconic fist-bump.
“In my mind, this is a Petri dish,” the “Howie Mandel Does Stuff” podcast host told 20/20 in 2009, showing his hand, palm up, to the camera. “Otherwise, I would have spent days, as I have in the past, in the men’s room, rubbing and scrubbing and scalding.”
Though it’s been difficult for him at times to be so open about his OCD, Mandel wrote a book about his struggles, titled Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me, which was released in 2009. He peppered the autobiography with his trademark humor while discussing his lifelong battle with mental health.
In addition to the psychological obstacles the comedian has coped with and continues to, he has also had his fair share of physical problems as well.
In October 2021, Mandel made headlines when he was rushed to the hospital after fainting at Starbucks.
“I am home and doing better. I was dehydrated and had low blood sugar,” he wrote via Twitter at the time. “I appreciate the great doctors and nurses that took such good care of me. Thank you to everyone who reached out but I am doing OK!”
Keep reading to find out more about Mandel’s health issues over the years: