The cast of Ted Lasso takes on mental health from the White House podium

The cast of Ted Lasso visits President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in the Oval Office. (White House photo)
The cast of Ted Lasso visits President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in the Oval Office. (White House photo)

By: Natalie Sarsfield

In the feel-good comedy-drama “Ted Lasso,” Jason Sudeikis often faces the British press as coach Lasso, positively explaining away his soccer team’s latest struggle. But recently, Sudeikis found himself standing behind one of the most visible microphones in the world in the White House Briefing Room. The topic? Mental health.

“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for, we all probably, I assume, we all know someone who has, or have been that someone ourselves actually, that’s struggled, that’s felt isolated, that’s felt anxious, that has felt alone,” said Sudeikis at the White House press briefing. “It’s actually one of the many things, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings.”

Based in London, “Ted Lasso” follows an American football coach as he attempts to manage a British soccer team. Eccentric and almost frustratingly optimistic, Sudeikis’ character is not the media’s traditional face of mental health issues.

“Ted Lasso” is not specifically about mental health, yet the show weaves the theme into the story of its main character. When Ted begins having panic attacks, he seeks out therapy. His character’s story reflects a common theme in mental health advocacy — check in on your friends, as even the people who we might least expect can be struggling. Ted is always emotionally available for everyone else, yet, deep down, he is facing struggles. The show bridges the light-hearted plot of a struggling soccer team with a serious topic.

Sudeikis and his castmates used the opportunity at the White House to advocate for more mental health transparency, encouraging Americans to normalize these struggles and support one another. President Biden Biden has focused on mental health care as part of his “unity agenda.”

“The big theme of the show is to check in with your neighbor, your co-worker, your friends, your family, and ask how they’re doing and listen,” Sudeikis added. “We also have to know that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help ourselves, and that does take a lot, especially when it’s something that has such a negative stigma to it, such as mental health, and it doesn’t need to be that way.”


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