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Greek-American filmmaker and 2016 Olympian Alexi Pappas said when she first spoke with Bill Hader, she felt the same excitement as when she met Princess Belle at Disneyland. As a huge fan, it was magical for her.

Prominent comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader sat down with Pappas and got vulnerable for SXSW viewers to talk about the stigma of mental health, how it has affected him and how he overcomes it on a day-to-day basis.

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(Christa McWhirter)

Mourners laid flowers at the Children's Medical Group office in Central Austin after Dr. Lindley Dodson was killed in a hostage situation.

The Austin community is still reeling from a hostage incident at a local pediatric practice late last month, in which Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson was killed in a murder-suicide. The crime remains under investigation, and it is unclear what role the pandemic may have played in the suspect's motives. However, recent studies have found a dramatic increase in suicidal ideation over the course of the pandemic, as many people contend with social isolation and financial stress.

Local mental health providers say that demand for services—whether in the form of client referrals or hotline calls—are up. State and federal emergency orders have improved access to telemedicine, which enables some people with insurance to access therapy virtually, but in-person outreach and other suicide prevention efforts may be affected by the pandemic.

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(Hi, How Are You/Instagram)

In a week-long fundraising event, the Hi, How Are You Project is lighting up Austin in green to raise awareness for mental health.

The Hi, How Are You project is teaming up with American Campus Communities for its "Happy Habit-A-Thon," a fundraising event running from Friday through Feb. 1. The group usually hosts an in-person event on Jan. 22 for "Hi, How Are You Day," but since COVID-19 presented health concerns, the "day" was stretched into a 10-day event.

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For those who suffer mood disorders and mental illness, this year has especially been a nightmare and to add to that, the holidays often mean the unwanted gift of seasonal depression.

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