Prioritizing your mental health, as well as the health of those around you, is critical in maintaining healthy relationships and achieving greater happiness both personally and professionally.

This list, along with our updated top mental health speakers for 2024, are great options to consider for your college or university event.

These speakers, along with other speakers within the healthcare and wellness space, cover a wide range of topics, including depression, anxiety, stress, suicide prevention, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, trauma, addiction recovery, and more.

M Abeo Top Mental Health Keynote Speakers for Colleges and Universities 2023
Top Mental Health Keynote Speakers for Colleges and Universities 2023

M Abeo: Mental Health Advocate & Creator of the ​Faces of Fortitude​ Movement

M Abeo ​(they/them)​ is a Mental Health Advocate, Speaker, Podcast host, Producer and Photographer + Creator of the ​Faces of Fortitude​ movement. The movement began as a project consisting of a series of portraits documenting the healing of those affected by suicide. In just 3 years it has grown into a movement that consists of TEDx and other public speaking events, traveling gallery exhibits, the Face to Faces Podcast, portrait sessions and two upcoming books.

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Steve Burns: Emmy-Nominated Actor & Host, Blues Clues

Steve Burns is an actor and television host best known as the original host of the long-running children’s preschool television program, Blue’s Clues. The series was rebooted as Blue’s Clues and You, with Burns serving as frequent writer, director, and producer. As a speaker, Burns refines and re-examines the message of empowerment and exceptionalism he delivered to a generation of children as they now struggle with the demands and realities of adulting.

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Hunter Schafer: Transgender Actress, Model & Activist Known for HBO’s “Euphoria”

Hunter Schafer is an actress and artist best known for playing ‘Jules Vaughn’ in HBO’s Emmy-Award Winning series EUPHORIA. Hunter most recently starred in a special episode of the hit series which she co-wrote and co-executive produced with series creator Sam Levinson during quarantine. Before landing the role of Jules, Schafer worked as a fashion model for popular brands such as ‘Calvin Klein,’ ‘Dior,’ ‘Helmut Lang,’ ‘Maison Margiela,’ ‘Marc Jacobs,’ ‘Miu Miu,’ ‘Vera Wang,’  ‘Versace,’ and ‘Rick Owens.’

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Maya Hawke: Actress & Singer, Known for Netflix’s Stranger Things

Maya Ray American is a model and actress. She is the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, both actors. After starting her modeling career, Hawke transitioned to acting in 2017 when she played Jo March in the BBC production of Little Women. She also played Robin in the third season of the Netflix series Stranger Things (2019).

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Ashley Tisdale: Keynote Speaker: Actress, Singer & Producer

Actress and singer best known for her role as Maddie on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. She has won several acting awards, including an MTV Movie Award, for her performances in the High School Musical films. She also voices the character Candace on Phineas and Ferb. In 2020, she became a panelist on The Masked Dancer.

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Hari Nef: Model Actress Activist and the First Trans Woman Signed to IMG Worldwide

Hari Nef is an American actress model and writer based in New York City. Nef made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week Spring 2015 walking for both Hood By Air and Eckhaus Latta. Nef is a transgender woman and is known for speaking about important trans issues.

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Frank Warren: Innovative Creator of The PostSecret Project & Author

Frank Warren demonstrates the power of sharing your hopes, dreams, fears and failures and how PostSecret became the catalyst for his passionate commitment to mental health advocacy.

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Johnny Crowder: Resilience, Wellbeing, and Mental Health Expert, Certified Recovery Peer Specialist, Founder and CEO of Cope Notes®

Johnny Crowder is a 29-year-old suicide/abuse survivor, TEDx speaker, touring musician, mental health and sobriety advocate, and the Founder & CEO of Cope Notes, a text-based mental health platform that provides daily support to users in nearly 100 countries around the world.

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Neil Pasricha: Leadership Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, Positive-psychology Researcher

Neil is the author of nine books and journals including: The Book of Awesome, a spinning rolodex of simple pleasures based on his 100-million-hit, award-winning blog 1000 Awesome Things, The Happiness Equation, originally written as a 300-page love letter to his unborn son on how to live a happy life, Awesome Is Everywhere, an interactive introduction to guided meditation for children, Two-Minute Mornings, his simple daily morning practice, and You Are Awesome, a nine-step guide to building resilience told through stories and research.

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Ben Nemtin: Star of MTV’s The Buried Life

Ben has driven countless people to achieve their dreams, as both a helping hand and as an inspiration. These experiences have taught him that articulating and prioritizing your personal goals is not a selfish act—but one that creates a positive ripple effect that inspires others to live their best life.

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Laurie Hernandez: Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Advocate for Positive Body Image

After bringing home the gold and silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Laurie Hernandez went on to win the coveted mirror ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars, and to publish two books: I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, in 2017, and a picture book for children, She’s Got This, in 2018. Both were New York Times bestsellers. In recognition of Hernandez’s work as a Literacy Champion promoting readership as a path to leadership, Mattel created a Laurie Hernandez “Shero” Barbie to honor her.

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Aly Raisman: Gold Medal Winning Gymnast and Advocate for Positive Body Image

Aly Raisman, team captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016, is the second most decorated American gymnast of all-time with six total Olympic medals. 

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Justin Baldoni: Human Rights Activist and Actor best known as Rafael Solano on The CW’s Jane the Virgin

Justin Baldoni is an actor, director, producer, entrepreneur, and changemaker whose efforts are focused on creating impactful media and entertainment. His most notable role is Rafael on The CW’s award-winning phenomenon, Jane the Virgin.

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Elizabeth Smart: Child Abduction Prevention Advocate, Victim of Child Abduction

The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Surviving, and now thriving as an advocate, Elizabeth shows us that it is possible not only to overcome extreme adversity and take control of your future, but also to light the way for others.

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Kevin Kreider: Star of Netflix’s Bling Empire, Entrepreneur and Sobriety & Recovery Leader

Born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted at the age of three to a German/Irish family in Philadelphia, Kevin Kreider grew up with a loving family. But he soon found out that the outside world is not as caring. By the time he was in kindergarten, Kevin was bullied, beaten up and made fun of for being Asian. That continued through the years and he began to believe the hateful things others were telling him: Asian men were not as attractive. They were effeminate, skinny and weak.

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