Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey, and Daniella Pierson Want to Create a Planned Parenthood for Mental Health

The actress, her mom Mandy Teefey and the team behind Wondermind aspire to create a Planned Parenthood for mental health that is available to everyone.

Wondermind Selena Gomez Mandy Teefey Interview

Image via Publicist/Wondermind

Wondermind Selena Gomez Mandy Teefey Interview

Daniella Pierson, who founded The Newsette, a daily newsletter for women, reached out to interview Selena Gomez and her mom, Mandy Teefey in 2020 about mental health. After the conversation, they all felt a calling to utilize their stories and build something together to help millions of people. “We’ve done a lot of interviews together, and [Pierson’s] questions were just so thoughtful and insightful,” Teefey tells Complex. “When we were done talking, Selena immediately said, ‘I don’t know why, but I feel so much closer to you.’” Pierson recalls the mom and daughter being so raw and real with each other during the conversation that it prompted her to share her OCD diagnosis with them, which only her inner circle knew about. That connection and safe space is what they hope to give to others with Wondermind.

Gomez, Teefey, and Pierson teamed up to launch Wondermind, a new venture they announced in November that aims to help people discuss mental health. The three women have all dealt with their own diagnoses and struggles with mental disorders that they didn’t know how to cope with at first. Now that they have a better understanding of themselves, they are launching a multimedia digital platform to help people deal with their mental health struggles. The trio’s platform will provide free resources, tools, and exercises to help people work on their mental fitness. The first drop is a newsletter that will be delivered to subscribers’ inboxes three times a week, free of charge. 

During an interview with Complex, Teefey and Pierson shared that creating this community is their passion. The same goes for Gomez who previously said her goal with Wondermind is to create a Planned Parenthood for mental health that is available to anyone. “That really sparked this lightning, at least for myself, of how can we democratize and destigmatize mental health and mental fitness for all? Not just the lucky few that can pay for therapy,” Pierson says. “It’s very expensive. There’s a lot of barriers to entry for people to even get started in the mental health space.” 

Wondermind Selena Gomez Mandy Teefey Interview
Wondermind Selena Gomez Mandy Teefey Interview

The conversation around mental wellness has gained momentum in recent years, especially because of the pandemic, but many don’t know how to address it. The founders plan to further the entire cultural conversation across the globe. They also want to help parents navigate through their children’s diagnoses. Teefey was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and adult ADHD in her 40s, so once Gomez found out about her diagnosis they both learned to communicate and understand each other better. For many families, that level of understanding is sometimes lacking, especially in minority communities. Pierson, whose father once referred to therapy as being for “weak people,” wishes her parents had the tools and free resources that Wondermind will provide when she was younger.

“When I saw Selena and Mandy talking, it almost made me emotional. I don’t have the same relationship in terms of my mom dealing with mental health. She’s Hispanic, she’s from Colombia, and because of the culture, it didn’t really give her the tools to be there for me,” Pierson shared. “It’s something she’s deeply regretful [about]. I don’t make her feel bad about it. How could she have known? As a Latina, my mom and the generations before her didn’t talk about not feeling well, they were in survival mode.” 

As a multimedia mental health platform, Wondermind will be split into three different verticals: media, production and entertainment, and product. The media, including the newsletter, will be available on the site at no cost to ensure that there isn’t a barrier to entry. There will be interviews and Q&As with prominent people in the industry and celebrities. Eventually, they want to tell important stories about mental health through TV shows and movies. “The podcast, all of that content, and the corresponding resources are always going to be free,” Pierson said. “We always wanted to make sure that there were stages where you could interact without giving us a penny.” The product will be the paid component on the site. They are working with the top minds in mental health to create discreet, easy-to-carry toys and gadgets that help people cope with ADHD, which will be available to purchase on the site. “Our vision is, ‘What does a mental health aisle look like at a mass retailer?’ That’s never been done before, but why isn’t it? It seems like a no-brainer now,” Pierson says.

Wondermind Selena Gomez Mandy Teefey Interview

“I want to show Wall Street that mental health is good business. My dream is that billions of dollars are poured into the mental health space and people are able to get access to tools funded by the biggest VCs in the world because companies are growing in this space,” she added. “That’s really my dream, to build mental health into a huge market so that the consumers are served.” An even bigger goal they have is creating a festival or convention similar to ComplexCon, Comic Con or Beauty Con with a focus on mental health. “We want to build a community where if you go to that festival, you feel a comradery because everyone there is being open and excited to see what it looks like to actually be raw and real and work on their mental fitness,” she says.

Gomez and Teefey will be leading Wondermind’s production arm, which will create TV shows and movies that are an accurate portrayal of people living with a mental illness. The mom and daughter duo previously executive produced Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, which covered topics like suicide, sexual assault, and PTSD. While some viewers thought it was too graphic, it did start a much-needed conversation about trauma. Teefey says now they want to create projects like Ted Lasso and Silver Linings Playbook that demonstrate how you can have a full life even after a diagnosis. “As a media company, we need to take back the stigma we created. Girl, Interrupted, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—that’s what people’s perception is,” Teefey says. “If [people] are feeling like something’s different about them, they may be afraid of psychology because they don’t want to become that, and that’s not the case. Not all mental health facilities look like Girl, Interrupted.” 

They are aware that there is still shame around taking medicine or seeing a professional for mental health issues. Their goal is to normalize access to adequate help. In Wondermind’s first newsletter, Gomez said she wants to provide a “real, honest, safe, comfortable place” that people can turn to. “Honestly, I believe that’s why a lot of people go to AA or NA meetings, like myself. I do, because I find it inspiring and moving. I find it empowering when I can speak or just hear others tell their story,” she says. “It’s not a scary place. What we’re building is so exciting, and I’m really grateful.” Pierson hopes that the platform will be the support system she wishes she had at her darkest moments. “Mandy, myself, and Selena have been through the depths of mental health where it felt like the end and it felt like there was no shining light or no support in sight, and we got through it,” Pierson tells Complex. “We really want to be the people who say, ‘Look around you and look at the community that’s supporting you,’ but also fill up the holes so that maybe the next generation doesn’t even feel like talking about their mental health has a stigma. That would be a success.”

To learn more about Wondermind, visit the website here.

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