“I was just telling my husband [John McBride] how much I admired her for taking time off to focus on her mental health,” McBride tells PEOPLE in a recent interview about the Olympian’s openness about her mental health struggles. “I think the more celebrities talk about it, it just becomes more acceptable and less stigmatized. I mean, we can all use a little help now and then.”
Indeed, the ongoing mental health crisis in this country is one that McBride, 57, knows all too well as a mother to three young women.
“We have a mental health crisis with teenagers in this country,” explains McBride, the hitmaker behind songs such as “A Broken Wing,” “Independence Day” and “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.” “I’ve got an 18-year-old [Ava], I’ve got a 25-year-old [Emma] and I’ve got a 28-year-old [Delaney] … all girls,” says the country music star. “Thankfully the focus on mental health has come more to the forefront. It’s become less of a stigma. It’s become more accepted to get help.”
It’s also become far more acceptable to talk about it, with McBride being one of the artists in the spotlight to never shy away from it.
“I do have a way for a lot of people to listen to what I say, and there’s a certain responsibility that goes with that,” says McBride, who will serve as the headlining performer at One Mind’s 29th Annual Music Festival for Brain Health on Sept. 9 at the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, California, joining past headliners such as Jewel, Hunter Hayes and One Republic at the always anticipated event.
“Honestly, I wasn’t aware of the organization until I was offered the show, and then I did some research and it’s just a wonderful organization,” says McBride. “They’ve raised over $500 million for mental health. And plus, it sounds like a fun event, so it’s a win-win.”
When it comes to her own mental health, McBride says she is still working to get back to normal after the slowdown of the pandemic.
“I think there were two kinds of people — people that used the time to create and people that used the time to recharge, and I was the recharge type,” reflects McBride. “I’m just getting back into thinking about it really and trying to come up with what I want to do next.”
Until she solidifies her plan, the Kansas native says she finds solace and contentment in places such as her garden at her Nashville home.
“It’s a place of peace and solitude, and it’s also nurturing to plant a seed in some dirt and then watch it and tend to it and nurture it, while also being able to feed my family and friends with healthy food,” says McBride. “It’s really gratifying for me to just be able to go out there every day and spend some time taking care of something.”
In fact, it’s a ritual that McBride says more people should try. “Everybody needs somewhere where they can go to just take you away from what is sort of a rat race that we live in,” she says.
And while McBride says that September is quite the busy month for her with touring and such, she won’t leave her garden to her hubby while she is gone.
“I don’t trust him with the garden,” she admits with a laugh, adding that her husband goes on the road with her. “I was just thinking the other day I was going to plant some lettuce for my fall garden, but I’m gone so much coming up.”
“I think what I’m leaning toward is a really personal album,” says McBride, who says she is also ‘compiling and testing recipes’ for a possible new cookbook. “I’ve always done songs that talk about life and tell stories and really maybe help other people and tell their stories, but maybe it’s time for me to do an album that’s more personal.”