White House hosts cast of Apple TV+'s 'Ted Lasso' to discuss mental health

Biden has made addressing mental health a key pillar of his administration.

March 20, 2023, 2:47 PM

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be hosting the cast of Apple TV+'s "Ted Lasso" at the White House Monday to discuss the importance of talking about mental health.

Several actors from the hit show including Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein visited to discuss why people should address "mental health to promote overall well-being."

Biden tweeted a suggestion to the visit Sunday with a photo of a sign that reads, "BELIEVE" above one of the doors to the Oval Office, which references the sign that the title character, played by Sudeikis, hangs above his office door.

Prior to the meeting, Sudeikis and a few other cast members attended the top of a briefing held by White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre.

"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for, we all probably know someone -- or have been that someone ourselves actually -- that's struggled, that's felt isolated, that's felt anxious, that's felt alone," Sudeikis said at Monday's briefing. "And it's actually one of the many things that, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings."

Sudeikis called on Americans to check in with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to see how they're doing and for people to not be afraid to ask for help if they need it.

PHOTO: Jason Sudeikis as "Ted Lasso" in an episode from the Apple TV+ series.
Jason Sudeikis as "Ted Lasso" in an episode from the Apple TV+ series.
Apple TV+

"Look, I know in this town, a lot of folks don't always agree and don't always feel heard, seen, listened to," he said. "But I truly believe that we should all do our best to help take care of each other."

According to a press release from Apple TV+, the themes of "Ted Lasso" have focused on "optimism, kindness, and determination."

The series, which saw its third season premiere last week, has also not shied away from depicting mental health struggles.

Lasso is an American football coach who moves to England to coach a Premier League soccer team. He generally has a sunny disposition, but cracks begin to show as past trauma catches up with him.

Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, played by Sarah Niles, is brought in to help one of the team's soccer players after a penalty kick gone wrong shakes him up. However, she soon begins to have one-on-one conversations with all the players.

Although Lasso initially resists Fieldstone's attempts to have a session with him, he eventually visits her after experiencing a debilitating panic attack.

Over a series of sessions, Lasso and Fieldstone dig down to discover the root cause of Lasso's anxiety.

"Ted Lasso" co-creator and cast member Brendan Hunt, who plays Coach Beard, told Phil Lipof on "ABC News Live" Friday that the response from fans to Lasso entering therapy has been overwhelmingly positive.

"The feedback we've gotten from people on this show is so uniquely moving -- and has been from the beginning for various reasons -- but, when we added the therapy element, heard back from a lot of different people about how therapy has helped their lives and some people who were just finally taking the step to start therapy because of the show," Hunt said.

In several speeches, including his most recent State of the Union in January, Biden has said one of the key proposals of his administration is improving mental health.

The administration has provided more than $500 million to help states launch the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and has distributed funds to help more schools hire mental health professionals that can connect with students either in person or via telehealth.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden waves as he leaves the White House in Washington, D.C., March 10, 2023.
President Joe Biden waves as he leaves the White House in Washington, D.C., March 10, 2023.
Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE

Biden has also called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would prevent social media companies from collecting personal data on children and teenagers as well as ban targeted advertising to children.

"President Biden has made addressing the mental health crisis a core pillar of his Unity Agenda," the White House said in a statement. "His strategy is focused on training more providers, making care more affordable and accessible, and creating healthier and safer communities, including online."

The White House did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Karen Travers contributed to this report.