Going There with Pom Pom Squad: Mia Berrin’s Galaxy Brain and the Bias of Mental Health

Band leader also talks adopting the cheerleader image to buck societal standards

pom pom squad going there mental health podcast

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Mia Berrin — leader of former Artists of the Month Pom Pom Squad — joins the Going There podcast to discuss the bias that “mental health” means always feeling and acting happy, calm, and confident.

The world would have us believe that being “normal” involves continuous positive and optimistic thinking, and being accepted or popular socially. If we don’t behave this way, our mental health and well-being can be questioned. This bias can create a stigma whereby people are unduly judged or criticized. Berrin explains that she took on these societal standards by evoking the image of a cheerleader in her music persona.

As a child and teenager, the Death of a Cheerleader artist saw the cheerleader as that happy, confident, popular standard she was meant to live up to. Because of her own race, sexuality, and mental health issues, she felt she didn’t fit that standard. She often felt what she described as chaotic and lonely, feelings she now acknowledges may have developed in part with her struggle with bipolar disorder.

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Berrin explains how she copes with not living up to these societal standards in part by embracing her own “Galaxy Brain.” The term can refer to someone who rejects conventional norms and understanding, instead looking at the bigger pictures of issues and digging until they uncover how they really feel and what they want to do. Though the phrase is often meant as an insult — like someone is making too much of an issue — the Pom Pom Squad singer talks about how her Galaxy Brain has helped create a pathway to mental health, not an obstacle. After all, we can’t cope by invalidating our feelings; we must embrace our Galaxy Mind and accept that our feelings gave value first.

Listen to Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin discuss her mental health journey above. Also make sure to like, review and subscribe to Going There with Dr. Mike wherever you get your podcasts.

Presented by Sound Mind Live and Consequence, Going There is an interview series in which clinical psychologist and life coach Dr. Mike Friedman talks with musicians about the crossroads where music and mental health meet. The series tackles the tough questions and conversations so that we can put an end to the stigma of mental illness and get the care we need.

Season 3 of Going There is brought to you by the fine folks at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, who never stop working to create a future where disease is a thing of the past.


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