“How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor discussed his struggles with mental health and his success in the entertainment industry at Bovard Auditorium Thursday evening. Starting the event by passing out complimentary snacks to attendees, Radnor casually fielded questions from audience members.
Radnor was invited by the Academic Culture Assembly as the final speaker for Mental Health Awareness Month. He detailed his struggles with depression during the first few seasons of “How I Met Your Mother” and how celebrity status brought little fulfillment to his life. Radnor attributed multiple shamanic trips to Brazil, where he drank the hallucinogenic brew Ayahuasca, as an important turning point in his mental well-being.
“There was something about being demolished or bowing at the feet of that enormous medicine … It really gave me some sense of something much bigger than what was happening on CBS,” Radnor said.
Radnor does not recommend Ayahuasca for everyone but discussed the importance of therapy and meditation for improving his mental health.
Students also asked Radnor how to deal with feelings of self-doubt and tackling career transitions. The actor emphasized the significance of finding a mentor to build confidence and accepting the inevitable struggles of adulthood.
“I don’t know a single person that has just an single uninterrupted rollercoaster of ‘this is only getting better,’” Radnor said. “It just doesn’t happen that way.”
For the theatre majors in the audience, Radnor recounted stories of failed acting endeavors and doled out advice on the need for perseverance in the entertainment industry.
“A lot of people have the talent to be a professional actor; not everyone has the stomach,” Radnor said.
Many attendees asked Radnor about his most famous role as Ted Mosby from “How I Met Your Mother.” While Radnor said he appreciated his time on the show and the opportunities it provided him, he wishes fans could separate his identity from the sitcom personality. But, the actor still cherishes the enthusiasm and joy the series continues to provide its fans.
“I don’t know what I did or what we did to have made a show that has a certain antidepressant quality to it, but it’s unbelievable,” Radnor said.
Radnor also spoke about how his love of stories translated into songwriting. After starting the band Radnor & Lee in 2016, music has become another creative outlet for the actor and director. He performed three of the duo’s songs at the lecture, including “Goodbye House” and “Apocalyptic Love Song.”
Taylor Tryon, a junior majoring in economics, attended the event and found that, while tailored more toward creatives, Radnor’s advice on success was applicable to her own life.
“The idea to just kind of keep centered and focused, and what’s meant for you will come, and what’s not won’t and that you just have to be along for the journey,” Tryon said.