Stars such as Lena Dunham, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Phelps and Jay Leno will also share videos of themselves discussing their struggles with mental health issues as part of the #MyYoungerSelf campaign throughout May.
In preparation for Mental Health Month in May, stars such as Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, Brian Grazer, Olympian Michael Phelps and Jesse Eisenberg are joining forces with the Child Mind Institute for the #MyYoungerSelf campaign to help end the stigma surrounding mental health and learning disorders.
In a series of videos, which will be premiered daily over the course of the month, a roster of nearly three dozen actors, athletes, writers, politicians and fashion designers will share their own personal accounts of growing up with mental health issues or learning disorders, as well as childhood photos, and offer advice and hope to children dealing with similar issues across the globe.
“We are grateful to have so many notable figures participating in #MyYoungerSelf and speaking up about such an important topic,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founder and president of the Child Mind Institute. “I know that their inspiring stories will help millions of families open up about their own mental health and learning disorders and seek out the help their children deserve.”
The videos will be revealed via the Child Mind Institute’s social media channels and website.
In his video, Grazer opened up about his history with dyslexia. “I had an incredibly hard time learning,” the Oscar-winning producer said. “I was constantly living in a straight F environment. But I had one person who believed in me, Grandma Sonya.” He went on to stress the importance of using “curiosity as a superpower.”
Other stars participating in the campaign are Rachel Bloom, Tommy Hilfiger, comedian David Cross, Jay Leno, Keke Palmer, Howie Mandel, Conn. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, NFL player Brandon Marshall, Ty Pennington, Wayne Brady and Henry Winkler.
The Child Mind Institute is an independent national nonprofit aimed at transforming the lives of children suffering from mental health issues and learning disorders.
“The reason for the Child Mind Institute existing is very much the fact that the most common illnesses of childhood and adolescence are mental health disorders,” Dr. Koplewicz told The Hollywood Reporter. “In our opinion they don’t get the same kind of robust research, attention and funding as other childhood illnesses.”
Bloom shared her struggle with anxiety and depression in her video. “When you get into the spiral and start thinking about all the worst case scenarios … that helps nothing. You’re not a psychic, and anticipating the worst doesn’t prevent the worst from happening, it only makes you more upset.”
The Golden Globe-winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star also shared advice for her younger self, saying she would tell herself to get treatment and meditate, “something I never thought I’d say,” she added.
The #MyYoungerSelf campaign is part of the Institute’s seventh annual public education effort, Speak Up for Kids, held each May to promote children’s mental health. “The wonderful part of this campaign is that I don’t know any of these people, but they have volunteered their time to share these stories that are so inspiring,” Dr. Koplewicz said of the star-studded roster of influencers that shared videos for the campaign. “The remarkable honesty and poignant and very vulnerable videos where people really showed their hearts to the public about how trying it was when they were a kid.”
On May 9, the Child Mind Institute will host its annual Change Maker Awards at the Highline Ballroom in New York City, honoring the work of individuals and organizations working to transform the field of children’s mental health and improve the lives of children around the world. During the event, a Facebook Live fundraising event will be held where viewers can donate directly to the Institute. Bloomingdale’s, the Institute’s founding partner, will also allow its shoppers to support the campaign by purchasing online gift cards which will donate 10 percent of their value to the cause.