The Best TED Talks for Mental Health Awareness

It’s hard not to feel impacted and potentially forever changed by a TED Talk. As someone who deals with anxiety and PMDD, I find hearing other perspectives on mental illness to be extremely enlightening and clarifying. Today. I’ve compiled what I believe to be the top five best TED Talks for discussing mental health topics, though there are several more amazing ones on YouTube and the official TED site. 

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia | Cecilia McGough

Of all the TED Talks related to mental health that I have come across, I believe this was the first one I watched. I think that this is a great introductory video for those who don’t know very much about schizophrenia, like I didn’t when I first watched the video. I was absolutely amazed and shocked by Cecilia’s story, and she painted her life experiences in such a vibrant, graphic way that I was able to easily empathize with her and her struggles. Most importantly, the video shines some light on the unfair prejudice projected onto those who deal with debilitating illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and breaks the stigma that those with the illness are inherently dangerous or violent in some way. It’s an extremely important video, and I highly recommend it to everybody. 

Imagine There Was No Stigma to Mental Illness | Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman

I recently came across this TED Talk on YouTube, and what I enjoy most about this video is the fact that Dr. Lieberman explains the stigma against those with mental health in such a clear, well-thought way. I admire that he has spent a substantial amount of his career researching mental illness and how the societal stigmas against it can be damaging to vulnerable communities, and how we as a community can continue to advocate for those with mental health struggles. I agree with Dr. Lieberman that less stigma and judgment would lead to the improved treatment of millions of individuals, so I really hope this TED Talk receives more traction and attention.

What is Depression? | Helen M. Farrell

Kind of going off of the stigmatization of mental health, there seem to be a lot of preconceived notions about what exactly depression is. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family who are clinically depressed, and one important thing in particular that I have learned is that depression does not always equal sadly moping around. Often, people with depression can put on an upbeat face and even feel happiness, but predominantly, they feel numbness or disinterest in the outside world. I really appreciated this TED Talk because Helen Farrell summarizes this notion much better than I can, and her use of visuals in the video is really helpful as well. If you know someone who is struggling with depression, or even if you simply just want to educate yourself better on the subject, I highly recommend watching this TED Talk. 

How to Cope with Anxiety | Olivia Remes

I’ve struggled with anxiety for all of my life, and that’s initially what drew me into this video. Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, and according to Olivia Remes, very few people who struggle with anxiety actually receive the help they need. My own journey with being diagnosed with GAD was a long and often painful struggle, so I really appreciate that Olivia Remes validates this experience for us. Although I personally have found medication to be extremely helpful, I understand where she is coming from when she emphasizes trying other alternatives first. For those who also struggle with anxiety and may want to learn more about it, I really recommend watching this video from start to finish.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris

I’m very interested in childhood psychology and how the traumas of our past can influence the people we turn into, so it’s no wonder I was quickly drawn to this video. I’m really happy that society is shifting its views on how childhood trauma is handled; what was once viewed as something you can simply “get over” as an adult is now being treated as a legitimate source of trauma on young, developing brains. Incredibly, Nadine Harris also reveals that those who have gone through extreme trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. It’s an important reminder that we need to take PTSD and other severe trauma disorders seriously, and I really appreciate that this video is getting the attention it deserves.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article! Let me know if you have watched any of these videos, and what you thought about them as well in the comments. 

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