José Abreu announces work with mental health awareness and nonprofit organizations in the Houston area

April 29th, 2023

HOUSTON, TexasAstros first baseman José Abreu and the Astros Foundation today announced a new partnership between Abreu, the Astros Foundation, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Greater Houston and Happy Jack to raise awareness on the importance of mental health.

José Abreu’s statement on the importance of mental health awareness and why he has chosen this cause:

“First, I wish to express my most sincere and warmest appreciation to everyone present and to all those taking the time today to learn about our message. In addition, I can’t say enough to thank Mr. Jim Crane for his unwavering support, the Houston Astros Foundation for their determination to help our community and the incomparable Paula Harris, who brought us together this afternoon and who has worked arduously for this project. Then of course I would like to thank the NAMI Greater Houston office, as they are heroes of our community and tirelessly dedicate every day of their professional lives for the benefit of our community. And finally to Ms. Bradi Harrison of Happy Jack, an achiever, without her courage and transparency as a mother we would not be united this afternoon. We share as parents and family members the importance of supporting the conversation about mental health and the importance of understanding that it’s okay to have a crooked smile.

The reality is that all of us have days where we wake up with a crooked smile, and that is okay. It’s okay, not being okay. These days happen for a variety of reasons, including anxiety, depression, stress, and other conditions. What breaks my heart and is not okay, is to hear that the youth in our communities are suffering because they do not understand this. Young people are coping with their mental health, at various levels and for various reasons, without tools, without talking and without seeking support. Today, young people consider suicide as a solution to mental health. I do not understand this. But I do understand that with the support of all of us we can change this, and we can open the door to real solutions.

When I first learned about Jack and Happy Jack, I was impacted. A young man with a singular purpose of letting other young people know that it’s okay to have a crooked smile. He shared this message with sincere humility and the courage of a giant. Jack openly talked about his mental health for the benefit of his peers and for the benefit of their parents. For me, Jack is a CHAMPION. His legacy is an inspiration to speak about mental health, to share that “it’s okay, not being okay,” and to help the youth in our community.

What Jack started is important to all of us as parents and as members of our community. We are talking about the future for our children, the future for our neighbors. It is important because part of the solution is to be able to talk, to be able to communicate with each other. Not talking and not knowing that it’s okay to ask for help has created an unacceptable consideration. It is incomprehensible that having a conversation to seek help, to look for tools, to seek medical attention and to find real solutions is preventing us from helping young people. Those solutions are within reach. To the youth in our community, to parents and relatives, please know that you are not alone. There are solutions and groups like NAMI Greater Houston, Happy Jack, and the Houston Astros Foundation that are here to help.

On May 20th at 8:00 am, I will be cutting the ribbon for the start of The NAMI Greater Houston Walk. The Walk is a beautiful and impactful event to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. Again, together we can share with the youth that “it’s okay, not being okay.” The Houston Astros Foundation, NAMI Greater Houston, and Happy Jack will have information on their social media to register for the May 20th Walk. Also, we will have shirts specially designed by me and Happy Jack for the Walk. NAMI Greater Houston will have information about these shirts on its website. If you can, please join us that morning. It will be a special day, a day to support the youth in our community by raising mental health awareness.

In addition, during our baseball season, the Houston Astros Foundation will be supporting projects to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. I am super excited about everything we have planned. And I am beyond proud and honored to be a part of the Houston community, the Houston Astros’ family, the NAMI Greater Houston’s efforts, and beyond proud and honored to be a voice for Happy Jack’s message.”

The Astros will share further information on The NAMI Walk and other mental health initiatives that Abreu and the Astros Foundation will take on throughout the year, including a Mental Health Awareness Day at an Astros game during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an alliance of more than 600 local Affiliates and 49 State Organizations who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.

Happy Jack is Jack Nathan. Jack created HappyJacksWorld to raise awareness and fund access to mental health resources. 15% of each HJ sale is donated. Jack wrestled with anxiety and depression - he simply wanted to help other kids know that they were not alone. Jack left us suddenly and accidentally on 7/3/20 at the age of 19, due to fentanyl poisoning. He was a survivor of mental illness- not a victim. Together we can make life better for kids like Jack. Please help us keep Jack’s legacy and mission alive.

The Astros Foundation, the official 501(c)(3) team charity of the Houston Astros, seeks to harness the passion of baseball fans to support youth baseball and softball programs, the recognition and honor of our nation’s military, childhood cancer awareness and efforts to reduce homelessness. Our cornerstone initiatives include the Community Leaders program, the Astros Youth Academy and the Astros RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program. For more information on the Astros Foundation, please visit