Kristen Bell is not afraid to be candid in her role as a parent, especially when it comes to mental health.
“The People We Hate at the Wedding" star tells TODAY.com that the way she addresses mental health with daughters Lincoln, 9, and Delta, 8, is "very openly and honestly."
"I think both my husband and I have been honest about our struggles, because we want to set an example for our girls," Bell, 42, tells TODAY.com as part of her role as Mental Health Ambassador for Hers, a women's health site. "That vulnerability should be respected and encouraged and it will bring you closer to people."
"My husband has been very open and honest about his recovery," Bell says. "(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."
The mom of two also tells TODAY.com the way she explained her daily mental health medication to the girls.
"I think I described the pill that I take at night when they saw me take it as broccoli for my brain," she says. "I felt like that was a decent comparison. 'This is what keeps my brain healthy. Not everybody needs this.'"
Bell says the family is "very big into regulation" and helping both children understand when they’re regulated and when they need to regulate.
"With my girls, at their school they learn a bunch of different breathing techniques, which we do at home," Bell says. "So if they're getting really 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."
As a parent, Bell says she separates normal anxieties of parenting from her own personal anxiety by using one simple approach.
"My personal technique is if the anxiety is infiltrating every other area of my life, then I know it deserves some extra attention," she says. "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."