Top 50 Mental Health Speakers for Schools
- By Brendan Egan
- Sep 02, 2022
Mental health is an extremely important topic for all ages. It’s certainly not something that should be ignored in children and teens. According to the CDC, ADHD, anxiety, behavioral issues, and depression affect millions of children between the ages of 3 and 17. Sometimes, children have multiple mental health issues at the same time. How many are affected?
● ADHD – Around 6 million
● Anxiety – Around 5.8 million
● Behavioral Issues – Around 5.5 million
● Depression – Around 2.7 million
We've created a list of our top 50 speakers for schools who have personal experience with common and less common mental illnesses in children. These speakers are just as comfortable talking to groups of students as they are parents or teachers. Here are the 50 best speakers for mental health in school settings to talk about bullying, the signs of depression, diversity, and knowing how to best help others who are affected by mental health issues, bullying, and other issues teens and children face.
Self-care is one of the areas that Alison Canavan excels at. She is a UCLA-trained mindfulness facilitator, mental health expert, a master NLP practitioner, a HeartMath facilitator, and a nutritional coach. Her workshops help others understand and transform anxiety, depression, and addiction. Most importantly, she’s a mom. She sees the struggles she faced during the pandemic as well as how they affected her son. She uses her personal experiences with anxiety to teach her audience how to embrace anxiety and never avoid it, leading to a personal path discovery that can help all ages.
2. Aly Raisman
Olympic medalist Aly Raisman is an incredible voice for children, especially those who are victims of sexual abuse. She’s one of several former teen athletes who were sexually abused by Olympic team physician Larry Nassar, and she gained an Arthur Ashe Courage Award for speaking up. She wrote Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything and speaks to others about sexual abuse and how to help victims.
Alyssa Petersel is the author of the award-winning book, Somehow I Am Different . She’s a licensed medical social worker and the founder and CEO of MyWellbeing, a service that matches patients with the right therapists for their needs. MyWellbeing has helped more than 2 million patients find the help they need. She’s able to talk about mental health trends, stress reduction, and even has experience with gender-marginalized individuals. Alyssa uses an honest, impactful approach that benefits all ages.
4. Ana Melikian
If you need a speaker at your school, Ana Melikian is ideal. In the fourth grade, she was almost forced to repeat that school year due to poor performance on spelling assignments and tests. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with dyslexia that things changed. She now holds a Ph.D. in psychology, two Master’s degrees, and shares her story with others. She’s a true inspiration for kids who feel that they’re being limited by their learning disabilities and mental health.
Arishma Singh is a mesmerizing speaker on issues related to today’s youth and how the pandemic changed their world. Since the pandemic, 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person instruction hours. The U.N. estimates that 24 million students may never go back to school. Even if they do, in 2019-2020, half of the world’s classrooms don't have computers or internet. A quarter didn’t have safe drinking water or electricity. She realizes how much the pandemic changed children and teens, especially in areas of mental health as they became isolated from their peers through home-schooling.
One of Ashely Whillans specialties is helping reduce burnout. While she often helps employees and business leaders, her skills in time management, motivation, and negotiation make her an excellent school speaker. She’s the author of Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time & Live a Happier Life and is a tenure-track faculty member at Harvard Business School, so she’s comfortable in front of students.
7. Baron Davis
As a professional basketball player, Baron Davis is comfortable in front of a crowd. He’s also a father to two sons, and he teaches them to tackle challenges head-on. That’s one of the reasons he’s an excellent speaker for students. After his NBA career ended, he founded Baron Davis Enterprises, which oversees companies like Business Inside the Game, No Label, and Sports and Lifestyle in Culture. He excels in leadership skills, teamwork, and public speaking on a wide range of topics.
Brandon Guyer played professional baseball for 13 years, including his debut with the Chicago Cubs, and now speaks to audiences about working on both mental and physical health using nutrition and a positive mindset. He’s able to talk about being your best to outplay and outthink your competition.
9. Brian Bogert
As a child, Brian Bogert was run over and one arm was severely injured and had to be reattached. While many would have let that defeat them, Brian used the pain to strive for a full recovery. It’s become his goal to impact a billion lives by 2045, and he does this to help people understand how to embrace challenges, use the pain to achieve greatness, and change negative thinking patterns so that they can embrace who they really are.
10. Chef Andre Rush
Chef Andre Rush supports the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition and strives to help today’s youth embrace their dreams. He’s a military vet who has planned and catered events both in the military and as a civilian, with domestic and foreign dignitaries. He’s been a White House chef and holds skills in several areas of the culinary world, including being a master ice carver, sugar sculptor, pastry chef, and chocolatier. He’s comfortable with students and focuses on being their best through a healthy lifestyle.
Cheralynne Skolnicki is the founder of The Brilliant Balance Company. Her speaking skills aim at helping others form strong communities and develop essential leadership skills through practical tips and the advice they need to hear. She’s one of Cincinnati’s "100 Wise Women" and has three children, so she has an ease about her that makes her a popular school speaker.
12. Chris Borland
He played for the San Francisco 49ers before retiring due to concerns of traumatic brain injuries that are too common in the sport. He’s not a mental health advocate and meditation teacher at Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. He strives to share his experiences with others and through insights that he’s gained as part of the meditation study at The Center for Health Minds and as the founder of T Mindful.
Dr. Armando Gonzalez is the founder of the Cheatcode Foundation. This nonprofit’s goal is to get people talking about mental health and not cave to the stigma that it’s taboo to talk about their thoughts, including feeling anxious, vulnerable, or helpless. Dr. Mondo has helped athletes, performers, and Olympians achieve their goals while embracing any mental health issues they encounter along the way.
She’s a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in ADHD, anxiety, body dysmorphia, depression, and eating disorders. She’s a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional and works with all ages, including children and adolescents. Book Dr. Regine Muradian to talk to your students about the stressors they experience in a school setting and among their peers.
15. Drew Robinson
If you’re looking for a speaker who will capture an audience's attention, you can’t beat Drew Robinson. He’s a former Texas Rangers player with amazing potential, but he was plagued by self-doubt. After Tommy John's surgery led to him being waived by the Cardinals, he started spiraling. At the start of the pandemic, he attempted suicide. That moved him on a new path. Despite the loss of his right eye, he became determined to play professionally again. He returned to professional baseball a year later. He’s now retired and works as a mental health advocate.
16. Grant Parr
Grant Parr is a mental performance coach who has helped professional athletes, Olympians, Olympic coaches, and business executives build a strong mindset that helps with mindfulness, focus, emotional control, and success. He shares his message that strength and athletic performance are not all that matter. Mental performance is critical, and he shares that message with his audiences. He’s also the author of The Next One Up Mindset: How to Prepare For the Unknown.
17. Greg Vogt
He went from having a normal childhood to experiencing mental health issues that led to a year in a mental health treatment center to address depression and his suicide attempts. Greg Vogt lost a teacher to suicide and a friend to a car accident, and he uses his pain and experiences to help others embrace their mental health and find hope by asking for help and support. He speaks to colleges across the country and is available to talk to students.
18. Ivy Watts
Ivy Watts is certified in Mental Health First Aid and holds a master's in Public Health. She’s a former NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee and Division II All-American. While she may have seemed to have it all, she was struggling with mental health issues. She finally decided to speak up and get help, and that led her on a path to helping others realize they’re not alone.
19. Jaime Komer
Jaime Komer has more than a dozen years of experience in holistic health and well-being. She’s helped implement and lead Yoga and wellness practices in professional and college sports settings. From Olympians to professional athletes, she helps them embrace the move from their athletic lives to what comes next. She leads young athletes on the path to talking about the difficulties they encounter as they get older.
20. Jimmy Spencer
Jimmy Spencer is an executive in sports media. While he works with many of the sporting world’s biggest names, he’s also experienced struggles along the way that people may not realize. As a child, he dealt with severe anxiety and panic disorder. OCD, claustrophobia, and other physical symptoms linked to anxiety plagued him. He finally recognized it and sought help. He uses his mental health struggles to help others learn to seek change and transform the trauma by accessing mental health treatments that work for them.
21. Kevin Briggs
In his 23 years with the California Highway Patrol, Sergeant Kevin Briggs talked more than 200 people out of ending their lives. It led to his nickname “Guardian of the Golden Gate.” Since his retirement, he’s focused on advocating for suicide prevention and mental health to audiences around the world. His methods include active listening and sharing his own mental health struggles in order to let others know they are not alone.
22. Liza Pavlakos
Liza Pavlakos specializes in talking to all ages about mental health. She’s overcome abduction, human trafficking, abuse, and homelessness to become one of the best speakers for schools. She’s been recognized as one of the world’s "Top 10 Female Speakers" and is the founder of Positive Breakthroughs, an organization comprising coaches, counselors, psychologists, and psychotherapists working together to improve mental health for everyone, including today’s youth.
23. Lonnie Mayne
He’s the founder and CEO of Red Shoes Living. Lonnie Mayne is also the author of Red Shoes Living – Stand Out For the Positive in How You Work and How You Live . His goal is to help his audience embrace living their best lives and doing their best work along the way. He can help students embrace their truest selves, just as he can help teachers develop strong leadership skills.
24. Mariangela Abeo
Mariangela Abeo lost a brother to suicide and tried to take their own life as a teen. Using these experiences, Mariangela created the Faces of Fortitude movement. Their goal is to create a safe, stigma-free space to talk about mental health and suicide. They travel the nation talking to audiences about suicide loss, surviving a suicide attempt, and advocating for mental health.
25. Mark Henick
Finding the Stranger Who Saved My Life is a viral Ted Talk by Mark Henrick that shapes the reason he’s become a leading mental health advocate. He’s the youngest ever president of a division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the host and executive producer of two podcasts: Living Well and So-Called Normal. He’s a popular keynote speaker on depression, resilience, recovery, and finding connections, and he’s one of the best school speakers you’ll encounter due to his engaging, humorous personality.
Michael Landsberg is the host of Off the Record, a Canadian talk show. Some people were turned off by his persistent approach, but what they didn’t realize is that he’d battled depression and had a lot to say. It led to him becoming one of Canada’s leading advocates for mental health. He holds the "Canadian Screen Awards’ Humanitarian Award" and the "Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal." He’s able to talk about all aspects of mental illness to both those with mental health issues and those around people with mental illness.
27. Minna Lee
Minna Lee’s message of positivity and being aware of mental health is one that needs to be spread far and wide. She’s a social media influencer who can talk about mental health, wellness, and conscious living. Her corgi, Benny, also has an Instagram page, which can bring added appeal to students who hear her speak.
28. Montee Ball
Once a professional NFL running back, Montee Ball was released by the Patriots in 2016 after an arrest. His dad was an alcoholic and Montee was following that same path. After landing in jail on a domestic violence charge, he stepped up and realized he was out of control and needed to change his ways. His son’s birth helped him turn everything around. He works with several non-profit health organizations and travels the country to talk about addiction and mental health with young athletes.
29. Rochelle Gapere
Rochelle Gapere holds Positive Psychology Specialization Certification from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s an excellent choice for any mental health talk in a school setting, and she uses the lessons she’s learned in transforming your life into a fulfilling happy one to help inspire others to do the same. Check out one of her previous engagements here!
30. Ryan Leaf
Ryan Leaf was an NFL quarterback from 1998 to 2001. When his NFL career ended, he earned his degree but ended up dealing with addiction that led to a sentence of ten years of probation. He was soon arrested again for felony burglary and ordered to serve a seven-year sentence in state prison. He also gained a five-year sentence for violating probation. He finally left prison in 2014 and changed his ways. He’s now a program ambassador for Transcend Recovery Community and travels the country talking to others about overcoming adversity.
31. Sara Ross
Sara Ross talks to the leaders of Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, and in educational settings to talk about resilience, leadership, emotional intelligence, and handling pressure. Through her techniques, she helps others learn how to decrease the stress and exhaustion they experience in their work and studies. She’s the founder of BrainAMPED and specializes in helping people understand what they should be doing to excel rather than what they are doing.
32. Serena Poon
Serena Poon is a celebrity chef and creator of Culinary Academy™. Her skills surround using nutrition for emotional, physical, and mental health. She holds degrees in nutrition and culinary arts from UC Berkeley and Le Cordon Bleu. She’s a popular speaker in school settings due to her ties to celebrities and her personable approach.
She’s the co-founder of SoulPancake, a company started with actor Rainn Wilson that creates socially-conscious, positive videos about the connections humans make. She has more than 20 years of experience in impact entertainment building, team building, media production, and storytelling. She’s an excellent school speaker as she was one of the youngest winners of the Jesse H. Neal Award and she volunteers with several young organizations, so she’s able to connect to a younger audience.
34. Sheryl Ziegler
If you need a speaker for your school, consider Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, the author of Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children . She’s a popular choice with parenting groups and schools serving young children. Her expertise is in stress prevention, positive mental health approaches, avoiding anxiety and burnout, and time management.
35. Tahl Raz
He’s the author of Never Eat Alone and Never Split the Difference. Tahl Raz is a master in negotiations thanks to his experience as an FBI negotiator. He’s an engaging speaker who can talk about everything from negotiating in tough situations to building successful relationships, which can help teachers connect with their students.
36. Tanya L Brown
Tanya L. Brown has suffered an incredible loss with her sister’s murder and that led to a suicide attempt. As her story is well-known, it resonates with teens and adults. The loss of her sister Nicole Brown Simpson led to her speaking up against domestic violence, overcoming adversity, and using self-care tools to promote mental well-being.
37. Victoria Garrick
To the outsider, it seemed that Victoria Garrick had it all. She was on the #1 ranked volleyball team and won a Pac-12 Championship. She had the “Top 5 Most Digs” in the University of Southern California program’s history. All the while, she was battling mental health issues that she felt needed to be talked about. She started advocating for mental health during her second year of college. Her TED Talk on mental health and body image gained more than 180,000 views. She travels the country talking to high schoolers and college students about mental health and being your true self.
38. Alison Canavan
Alison Canavan is a mental health expert who specializes in mindfulness, overcoming anxiety, and nutrition. Her experience raising her son makes her an exceptional school speaker who can help parents, teachers, and even students understand the spiral that anxiety and depression can cause and the tools to seek help and take care of yourself and those around you.
39. Aly Raisman
In 2017, former Olympic team physician Larry Nassar was handed a 60-year sentence in the first of several charges that equated to life without parole for sexual abuse and assault of several minors. Aly Raisman is one of the former Olympians he abused who fought for justice, for which she and the other abuse victims received an Arthur Ashe Courage Award. She’s the author of Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything and speaks to students about mental health, abuse, and standing up for themselves and others.
40. Alyssa Petersel
Somehow I Am Different is Alyssa Petersel’s bestselling book about Jewish history. She’s the founder and CEO of MyWellbeing, a service that matches patients with therapists, and a licensed medical social worker. Through MyWellbeing, more than 28 million people have found the support they need. Alyssa in all aspects of mental wellness, especially in helping marginalized people who may otherwise feel left out of traditional support channels.
41. Ana Melikian
Ana Melikian resonates with a younger audience due to her childhood. In the 4th grade, her spelling skills were poor and almost caused her to repeat the grade. She was diagnosed with dyslexia and worked her way to two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. She uses those experiences to teach others that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to big things and help you achieve your dreams.
42. Arishma Singh
Arishma Singh specializes in a technique created in 1979 by Dr. Robert Callahan. Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT for short, is a technique that combines exposure therapy with alternative therapies like acupressure to stimulate specific meridian points that help alter your feelings. It’s an effective technique for managing the impacts stress has on your daily life by reducing cortisol. In a school setting, EFT can help students deal with school-related pressures and anxiety.
43. Ashley Whillans
Ashely Whillans is a tenure-track faculty member at Harvard Business School and is very comfortable talking to students. Her specialties include finding ways to be motivated to succeed, reducing burnout, and better managing one’s time. She’s the author of Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time & Live a Happier Life and is an excellent school speaker.
44. Baron Davis
Baron Davis was a point guard in professional basketball from 1999 to 2016. He founded the Black Santa Company in 2016 to promote African-American stories and is the founder of Baron Davis Enterprises. He’s a public speaker that specializes in team building and leadership skills. Between his expertise and celebrity status, high school and college students love to get his insight into being their best and overcoming obstacles.
45. Brandon Guyer
Some people may recognize the name Brandon Guyer as a former MLB player. Since his retirement from baseball, he’s been a director of mental performance and nutrition, leading mental clinics for D-BAT Academies. He also develops nutritional and mental health programs for Area Scouts. He’s a Mental Performance Mastery Coach and has a lot to offer students who are looking to excel in high school and beyond.
46. Brian Bogert
As a child, Brian Bogert was run over by a truck and that led to the separation of his arm. Surgery reattached the arm, but there was a lot of therapy to go through. While some would let the pain limit them, Brian learned to embrace and push through the pain to realize his goals. He shares everything he learned through his recovery and challenges with students and adults.
47. Chef Andre Rush
Chef Andre Rush can talk about so many things. He’s a pastry chef, chocolatier, and sugar sculptor. He’s a master ice carver, White House chef, and former master sergeant and combat veteran in the U.S. Army. It’s his goal to help younger generations achieve their dreams through a healthier tomorrow as part of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
As a mom of three, Cherylanne Skolnicki is comfortable talking to a younger generation, and she’s also comfortable in front of adults. Using non-nonsense tips and advice, she strives to teach others how to develop strong ties to their community, be great leaders, and make the most out of their daily routines.
49. Chris Borland
Chris Borland is the founder of T Mindful, a company that focuses on meditation in the world of sports. He’s a meditation teacher, mental health advocate, and former NFL linebacker for the 49ers. Serious head injuries led to his retirement and his aim to show other athletes of all ages that brain health is extremely important.
Dr. Mondo has helped professional athletes, Olympians, and entertainers achieve optimal mental health while also achieving optimal performance. He’s the founder of the Cheatcode Foundation, a non-profit that’s goal is to end the negative stigma people associate with mental health concerns and to increase access to the mental health services that benefit everyone.
Any one of our mental health speakers can provide much-needed support or guidance for your educators, students, or community. It can be an informational presentation for parents as their teens enter high school, teens who are affected by mental health issues, or for teachers to learn the signs of mental health issues that shouldn’t be ignored. With our mental health speakers, teens and children learn it’s okay to speak up and never feel that they’re alone in their struggles. Book a top 50 mental health speaker for your school today.