Jeff Probst Says Survivor’s Psychologists ‘Would Intervene’ if Needed Following Ben’s Panic Attack

Jeff Probst Says Survivor s Psychologists Would Intervene if Needed Following Ben s Panic Attack 603
Robert Voets/CBS
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Jeff Probst revealed that the Survivor psychology team was ready to step in to assist Ben Katzman after he suffered from a panic attack.

“We not only have medical doctors on location, we also have our mental health specialists on location, our psychology team,” Probst, 62, said on the Wednesday, April 10, episode of the “On Fire” podcast. “So, in this case, we let our psychologists know what happened, and if there was even a slight concern that Ben was in real trouble, we would intervene in whatever way was most appropriate."

The longtime host acknowledged that it may seem “counterintuitive” since the game was designed for players to tap into their “physical and emotional reserve.” However, Probst and the producers’ “number one” priority is the contestant’s physical and mental health.

"I'm very proud of our aftercare program for both medical and mental health issues,” he said. “I don't know of any show in our genre who does what we do. We follow through, and that support continues for as long as a player needs it.”

‘Survivor’ Season 46 Cast Revealed: Meet the Castaways Competing to Become the Next Sole Survivor

During the Wednesday episode of Survivor 46, Ben, 31, woke up in the middle of the night in “panic mode” and was breathing heavily. Ben, who shared that he suffered from anxiety, described the moment as “50 seconds of hysteria.” His fellow tribemate, Kenzie Petty, was by his side to comfort him until the panic subsided. (Kenzie shared that her mother and sister also suffered from anxiety.)

Jeff Probst Says Survivor s Psychologists Would Intervene if Needed Following Ben s Panic Attack 601
Robert Voets/CBS

While Probst wasn’t present to witness the sweet moment between Ben and Kenzie, he was proud watching that moment back.

“I'm obviously moved and very satisfied that Ben's community, in this case, Kenzie, specifically, took care of their own,” he shared. “It's a very big shift in the game from, say, 15 years ago where this might not have happened.”

Probst credited that the show’s focus on mental health comes as society’s culture has prioritized wellness in recent years.

“This gets overlooked, but Survivor has always been a reflection of our culture,” he explained. “And if you go back and look at our past 23 years, you will see us reflected in every season and you will see the shift and growth of our culture with every season because things that happened back in those early seasons, they would never happen today. And things that are happening today we couldn't have imagined happening 15 years ago.”

Every ‘Survivor’ Contestant That Was Medically Evacuated From the Game and the Injuries that Took Them Out

Ben isn’t the only player to have mental health struggles while competing on the reality series. In Survivor 45, Brandon Donlon suffered from a panic attack during the premiere episode during the first challenge. After being examined by the medical team, Brandon was cleared to play but was the second person voted out.

Later that season, Katurah Topps also had a panic attack during a challenge and stepped down to calm herself down. Katurah remained in the game and ultimately came in fourth place.