Mental Illness Awareness Week

First week of October


The theme of Mental Illness Awareness Week 2021 is, “Together for Mental Health,” where we will focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness. Hearing from the voices of people with lived experience.

Teaching Through Coronavirus Resource

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus
Credit: Teaching Tolerance

Amid a mental health battle, sponsors side with Naomi Osaka

By: By Mae Anderson and Anne D'Innocenzio Associated Press
After being transparent about dropping out of the French Open to protect her mental health, Naomi Osaka’s sponsors have stuck by her. The tennis star, who is the world’s highest–paid female athlete, joins a growing list of pro athletes speaking out on mental health.

Infinity Mirrors 2015

By: Yayoi Kusama

'Infinity Mirrors - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away' 2015

See more art by Yayoi Kusama below.

”I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. I followed the thread of art and somehow discovered a path that would allow me to live.”- Yayoi Kusama

Metta World Peace

By: Jesse Zaragoza
Ron Artest, "Metta World Peace," is a professional NBA player who has been open about receiving support for his mental health.

Mutual Rescue: Eric & Peety

Produced by:Dir. Advocate Creative

Eric weighed 340 pounds and his doctor told him he had 5 years to live. Then he met Peety—and everything changed. 

In these unprecedented times of facing worldwide health and economic concerns due to COVID-19, there is a powerful solution to fear, loneliness, and stress, and it is available to everyone. The solution is healthy relationships.

We reject the phrase social distancing because it deprives us of what we need most. We suggest calling the mandate physical distancing and practice social connecting. Healthy relationships and connections will strengthen your immune system as a defense against the virus.

Don't Let Coronavirus Ruin Your Relationships

Struggling during the coronavirus? The Crisis Text Line is here to help:



By: Wendy Jewell

Demi Lovato

By: Brittny Barcenas

Demi Lovato is a singer and actress who speaks up about her struggles with bulimia and bipolar disorder.

Misty Copeland

By: Kyley Brandt

Misty Copeland is the first ever African American principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. Growing up, she struggled with frequent anxiety and panic attacks, feeling out of place in her surroundings.

Michael Phelps

By: Amanda Kirtland

Michael Phelps is a now-retired competitive swimmer who won 26 Olympic medals. His foundation created "IM Healthy," free curricula to children experiencing depression, which he also struggles with.

Stories about Mental Health for Younger Readers - by Younger Readers

Vincent van Gogh

By: Michael Roberts

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

Clara Hughes

By: Alexa from Calgary

"I'm nowhere near my limit. I just want to see if there are such things as limits. I want to go and find out."


The following story has a link so you can hear the audio as you read. Great for ESL students and the visually impaired!

Vincent Van Gogh

By: Claudia Hudson

Vincent Van Gogh remains one of the world's most renowned artists.


We admire the work of James Doty in building a more compassionate world. Learn about his efforts in the first film in this section.

We honor and respect people who overcome great obstacles and keep going with a positive attitude. Enjoy heroes such as these in the other short films in this selection.

Power of Compassion & Importance of the Work of CCARE

CCARE at Stanford University

Dr. James Doty speaks on the power of compassion and importance of the work of CCARE.

Stephen Jenkinson - The Meaning of Death

Ian MacKenzie
Stephen Jenkinson shares his insights on death.

Minimum Max

Produced by:Joshua Ovalle
A brief and powerful first-hand account from high school student, Max, who must navigate through the world of ADD and all the medications that come along with it.


Producer: Anson Schloat and John G. Young

Liz Murray overcomes her difficult childhood to win a scholarship to go to college.

Art as self-expression

Famous artists, such as Yayoi Kusama and Vincent Van Gogh, have used art to either resolve or reflect on their struggle with mental health.

Infinity Mirrors

By: Yayoi Kusama

'Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away'


By: Yayoi Kusama

Kusama began drawing pumpkins as a child in pre-war Japan, where her family owned a plant nursery that farmed kabocha squash.

Corridor in the Asylum,1889 was beautifully rendered by Van Gogh while he was suffering from mental health issues

By: Vincent Van Gogh

Crazy World represents the complexity of everyday life with its overlapping issues

By: April Lam

Call to Action

Get informed! Check out NAMI's information on mental health policies in the US.

Related Pages

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day | May 9

By: Xenia Shin
Children's Mental Health Awareness Day was established to raise awareness of supporting childrens mental health and to end discrimination, stigma and prejudice around mental health issues.

External Links

Downloadable Books: My Hero is You, Storybook for Children on COVID-19
Credit: IASC

A new story book that aims to help children understand and come to terms with COVID-19 has been produced by a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Save the Children.

With the help of a fantasy creature, Ario, “My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!” explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality.

Click here for the story in English.

Click here for choice of language translations of the book.

Our Curators


Artwork curated by MY HERO Arts Education and Gallery director Giselle Villatoro. 


Short films curated by MY HERO International Film Festival director Wendy Milette


Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editor and Story Director Shannon Luders-Manuel. 


Audio curated by MY HERO Audio director Stu Pearlman. 

Organizer created on 8/20/2020 7:10:17 PM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 10/7/2021 12:07:01 PM by Wendy Milette