Today is officially “Hi, How Are You Day” in Austin – a holiday that both honors onetime Austinite Daniel Johnston and hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues.
In a 1985 interview with MTV, Johnston said he had a nervous breakdown while recording his album “Hi, How Are You?” in 1983.
His “Jeremiah the Innocent” mural at 21st and Guadalupe – which features the character on “Hi, How Are You?” – has been emblazoned on Austin-themed T-shirts and tchotchkes since it was painted in the '90s. Johnston painted the mural on what used to be the Sound Exchange record store for $100 and all the records he could carry out of the shop, his family said.
"Hi, How Are You Day?" ends with an evening of music and art at the Mohawk on Red River.
On the event’s Facebook page, organizers said the goal is “shifting the mental well-being conversation from the clinical to the personal; empowering each one of us to stand with others who are in crisis or who just need an ear.”
The SIMS Foundation is also encouraging Austinites to share their stories about mental health with friends and family, as well as on social media.
Hi Austin, how are you? Today, we invite you to ask your friends, family, co-workers and loved ones—"Hi, how are you?"
It's a simple thing to do, but it can have an incredible effect. Please join us in changing the way we talk about mental well-being.
— The SIMS Foundation (@SIMSfoundation) January 22, 2018