Earlier this month, Jeff Tweedy, Sharon Van Etten, and others pledged their support for a new initiative from the Hi, How Are You Project, the mental-health nonprofit inspired by the life and legacy of Daniel Johnston. The initiative was launched to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, and it asks people to do one simple task: “Because mental health matters, I pledge to ask others, ‘Hi How Are You?’ “
The Hi, How Are You Project’s initiative launched with a short video featuring an array of musicians and other public figures taking the pledge. Among them are Tweedy and Van Etten, as well as Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Ben Kweller, Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch, Fat Tony, Kate Davis, Maggie Koerner, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and soccer player Tim Regan.
“Now more than ever, we want to be a catalyst to amplify the importance of being able to openly communicate about mental health and well-being,” said Hi, How Are You Project co-founder Tom Gimbel. “Let’s all unite in partnership from coast to coast and around the world to take a simple pledge to ask others ‘Hi, how are you?’ and have the resources to know what to do beyond that conversation starter. Together as a community we will make an even deeper impact to break down the shame and stigma around mental illness.”
The same pledge is available for anyone to take on the Hi, How Are You Project website. And while doing so is free, those who donate a certain amount will receive a custom bandana/face covering featuring Johnston’s artwork, including the googly-eyed frog, Jeremiah, that appeared on the cover of Johnston’s 1983 album, Hi, How Are You, and then later as a famous mural in Austin.