Combating Negative Self-Talk with American Idol's Casey McQuillen
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To an outsider looking in, it may seem like singer Casey McQuillen has it all — she was a contestant on season 13 of American Idol, and went on to have a successful career in singing. Yet despite her success, she still struggles with a negative, nagging sense of self-doubt that she attributes to the bullying she endured in middle school. These difficult early experiences left such a mark that she started an anti-bullying program. Listen as she shares stories about how her mental health intertwines with her music, the pain and pressure of being on a reality show, and how she uses her voice to advocate against bullying today. To learn more -- or read the transcript -- please visit the official episode page. Guest Bio Casey McQuillen, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, activist, and powerhouse vocalist, burst onto the scene on season 13 of “American Idol.” Since then, the rising star has organically accumulated tens of thousands of followers on social media and millions of views and streams of her music online, largely because her songs are authentic, intimate, and relatable.   Casey’s first single, “Beautiful,” debuted globally on ExtraTV in April 2019. Her debut album, “Skinny,” released in April 2022 from Plymouth Rock Recording, includes “In & Out,” a duet with singer-songwriter, Jon McLaughlin. Throughout her career, Casey has dedicated herself to the causes of anti-bullying, body positivity, and mental health advocacy. Following “Idol,” she founded the You Matter Tour, an interactive, anti-bullying assembly show that she’s performed for 40,000+ students at over 100 middle and high schools in the U.S. and Europe. The tour has been recognized by the UN Foundation and GLAAD and featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show. Casey has toured the U.S. and Europe headlining her own shows and supporting talented singer-songwriters, such as James Morrison, Stephen Kellogg, Kate Voegele, Tyler Hilton, Eric Hutchison, Clark Beckham, David Ryan Harris, and Nick Howard. Starting in May, Casey hit the road for concerts in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and Nashville, and will return to the U.K. in early October for shows in Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne, Liverpool, Leicester, and London. For more information, please visit Casey’s official website – Inside Mental Health Podcast Host Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, "Mental Illness is an A*****e and other Observations," available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author. Gabe makes his home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. He lives with his supportive wife, Kendall, and a Miniature Schnauzer dog that he never wanted, but now can’t imagine life without. To book Gabe for your next event or learn more about him, please visit
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