This year marks 70 years of recognizing Mental Health Awareness month. Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder -- debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person's life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health challenges receive treatment. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on these issues, stand with men, women and children in need, and redouble our efforts to erase the negative stigmas of mental health that can create barriers to people accessing the resources available.
Amit Paley is CEO of The Trevor Project, guiding the organization in its mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. A passionate social impact leader, he transformed Trevor to operate like a startup, with the staff and tech to support it through a strong growth period.
Amit oversaw the build of a new tech platform that allows Trevor to deliver crisis services via phone, text, chat and social media, and took its digital crisis services 24/7 for the first time in 21 years.
He also dramatically increased the impact of Trevor’s programs. The organization now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy; overhauled TrevorSpace into the largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth; and expanded its research and clinical expertise, hiring the first psychiatrist and psychologists in its history. Learn more
I’m a writer. In February 2019, Graywolf Press published my essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, which became a New York Times bestseller; the Los Angeles Review of Books stated that “Esmé Weijun Wang is poised to become a major writer, and this is her origin story.” My debut novel, The Border of Paradise, has received accolades and kind words from places such as LitHub, NPR Books, and the Chicago Review of Books; I was selected by Granta for their once-a-decade Best of Young American Novelists list of 21 authors under 40, and I received the prestigious Whiting Award in 2018.
I believe in resilience, which forms the backbone of my work at The Unexpected Shape. My enthusiasm for both the practice and the living-out of resilience are borne out by my own daily existence with illness—I choose to live as best as I can, and I encourage others living with chronic illness and other forms of limitation to do the same. To find resources for ambitious people living with limitations, please check out The Unexpected Shape.
Legacy is a tricky beast, but I approach it from the perspective of looking at one’s impact, both big and small. Whether you think much about legacy or not, you are building your legacy every single day. Legacy can be the smile you leave on the cashier’s face when you purchase a tube of hand cream; legacy can also be the published book of your collected works. Learn more.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of more than 500 local affiliates who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. Learn more.