May is Mental Health Awareness month and to mark the occasion, Austin nonprofit, the Hi, How Are You project, is asking people to take an online pledge to check in on to friends, loved ones and neighbors.
In a video posted by the organization earlier this month, prominent musicians from Austin and around the country including Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, rocker Sharon Van Etten, Spoon’s Britt Daniel, rapper Fat Tony and singer-songwriter Ben Kweller pledge to ask others, "Hi, how are you?"
The organization was co-founded by Tom Gimbel, who managed Austin legend Daniel Johnston in the later years of his career. Johnston struggled with mental health issues throughout his life and his iconic mural of Jeremiah the Bullfrog under the words "Hi, how are you?" is the inspiration for the non-profit’s mission.
The organization aims to reduce stigma around mental illness, using the simple phrase "Hi, how are you?" as a way to connect with others and "create a community of support around the world."
The HHAY project hopes to gather 100,000 pledges to unlock a $10,000 grant from partner organization, the American Campus Communities Foundation to further their mission.