Speakers for Mental Health Awareness Month


The coming month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health support. In celebration, consider booking these experts who speak candidly about their own experiences and struggles with mental health, and who lead with empathy as they offer perspectives on this frequently maligned topic.

Contact us about booking these speakers for your upcoming virtual or in-person events.

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Dr. Thomas Insel

Neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and national leader in mental health research, policy, and technology

Known for his research on oxytocin and vasopressin, Dr. Thomas Insel is the national leader in mental health research, policy and technology. Previously an advisor to the governor of California and director of the National Institute of Mental Health, he is currently the Chairman of the Board at Steinberg Institute. In his talks, Dr. Insel offers a comprehensive plan for our failing mental system and for families trying to discern the way forward.

Dr Marisa G Franco Speaker

Dr. Marisa G. Franco

Psychologist, professor, friendship expert, and New York Times-bestselling author of Platonic

Loneliness plagues a third of all Americans as many struggle to forge connection, community, and friendship in an ever-more fragmented world. Dr. Marisa G. Franco is a psychologist, friendship expert, and speaker whose talks are filled with science-forward and data-driven expertise on how to build relationships and community. She speaks to audiences across organizations and industries on a broad range of topics, from how belonging can improve employee engagement, to the science of finding joy, to how friendships help student mental health, and how community makes us more resilient as individuals and as a society.

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Chanel Miller

Artist, activist, and author of the New York Times bestseller Know My Name

Chanel Miller is an artist, writer, and author of the New York Times bestseller Know My Name, a breathtaking memoir of a survivor reclaiming her voice. First known publicly as Emily Doe, Miller is the survivor of the Stanford University sexual assault case that exposed the harsh reality of what many victims face in the tangles of our criminal justice system. Her warm, poignant events address mental health, healing, and the transformative power of art.

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Private: Emily Ballesteros

Burnout management coach and TikTok influencer, and author of The Cure for Burnout

Emily Ballesteros is one of today’s leading burnout management coaches, helping organizations improve workplace productivity and employee well-being. Trained in industrial-organizational psychology, Ballesteros shares tools for professional and personal balance in workshops, viral social media videos, and her book The Cure for Burnout. Her no-holds-barred, relatable, and empathetic approach make Ballesteros a popular speaker with organizations of all sizes navigating new workforce and workspace models.

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Cheryl Strayed

Author of the #1 New York Times-bestselling memoir Wild and “Dear Sugar” columnist

Cheryl Strayed’s #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, about her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, was an international hit that was later released as an Academy Award-nominated motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. Tiny Beautiful Things, her beloved bestselling collection of “Dear Sugar” advice columns, was adapted into a Hulu television series starring Kathryn Hahn and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos. A warm, candid, funny, and engaging speaker, Cheryl Strayed’s talks about love, loss, adventure, courage, empathy and the power we possess to blaze our own wild trails attract large audiences at venues around the world.

Robert Kolker

Award-winning journalist and instant #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road

Robert Kolker is an award-winning journalist, a mental health advocate, and the author of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family. The widely praised book tells the story of a family overcome with schizophrenia and the major advancements in our understanding of mental illness that were brought about by the family’s willingness to undergo research. In deeply thoughtful and empathetic talks, Kolker discusses the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and the future of treatment and research for schizophrenia.

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Ian Manuel

Advocate for criminal justice reform, poet, and motivational speaker

At age 13, Ian Manuel was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for attempted murder after his participation in a botched robbery. Incarcerated as a teenager, Manuel served 26 years in prison—18 of which were in solitary confinement—until Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative secured his release in 2016. A fierce advocate for improved mental health services for incarcerated individuals, he speaks openly about the damaging effects of solitary confinement, especially on juveniles, and encourages audiences to rethink what justice and redemption really mean. In his upcoming memoir, My Time Will Come (May 2021), as well as his moving talks, Manuel shares his experiences under the harrowing circumstances of incarceration and solitary, and tells the story of how he managed—through his faith and poetry—to endure them and survive.

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James Hatch

Retired member of the Naval Special Warfare Development group, author of Touching the Dragon, and founder of Spike’s K9 Fund

When a devastating injury ended James Hatch‘s 24-year military career, he wrestled with the lasting mental effects of trauma, even as his physical health improved. With the support of a team of friends and family, Hatch was able to find a renewed sense of purpose, movingly chronicled in his memoir Touching the Dragon. Since his recovery, Hatch has dedicated his life to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness for veterans as well as civilians, showing how recovery is a team effort that begins with one person reaching out. His frank honesty inspires people to reframe the way they think about mental illness and recovery as well as the true meaning of leadership and teamwork.

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Holly Whitaker

Bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman and Founder of Tempest, Inc.

Holly Whitaker is the bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol. She is also the founder and CEO of Tempest, Inc., a holistic, evidence-based digital recovery platform that has served thousands of individuals on their path to recovery through various programs, educational courses, trauma-informed counselors, and more. In her candid talks, Whitaker reframes the narrative around drinking culture and offers a road map to living your best life without the crutch of intoxication.

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Carlos Andrés Gómez

Poet, speaker, educator and advocate for healthy masculinity