Amanda currently serves on the Mental Health Advisory Panel at Google and is an appointed member of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Committee (ISMICC) created by Congress to advise on federal mental health policy. Amanda formerly served as the youngest board member for the largest grassroots mental health nonprofit in the U.S., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Amanda's empathy drives her creativity. During college, she spent three months in a psychiatric hospital after having her own crisis. She began storyboarding patients' stories and witnessed the power of vulnerability and storytelling. Amanda has since produced over 70 short films about mental health and social impact - covering complex topics such as youth psychosis to tiny home building for CA fire survivors. Since age 18, she has given over 150 speeches sharing her personal story, debuting her films, and spreading advocacy. Clients have included Columbia Psychiatry, Sutter Health, University of Wisconsin, and Princeton University.
Amanda graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Human Development. She is a fellow of CORO Northern California and the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP).
Amanda's hobbies include mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, and she holds a black belt in Kung Fu and Kenpo. Amanda works remotely and is based in Sacramento, California.
Amanda shares behind-the-scenes of how she makes short documentary films. Her specialty is cause-driven filmmaking in mental health and social impact. In other words, how can films help people's lives and improve systems? Amanda believes filmmaking is both an art and a science that requires building strategic partnerships and thinking outside the box.
How can films drive empathy & innovation?
Power & Responsibility: bias and journalistic ethics in interviewing and editing
Digital Advertising: using digital advertising methods to proactively reach people seeking help online
Film Production 101: creating film budgets, building crews, and film fundraising
Theory to Practice: trauma-informed principles and entertainment-education theories in film practices
Film Promotion: digital advertising, strategic partnerships, and film festivals
Amanda’s shares her journey from mental health breakdown during college to becoming a mental health leader. Spending three months in a psychiatric hospital hearing patients’ stories of struggle and triumph, she observed from the inside-out how the system works. She shares how hitting rock bottom gave her ‘superpowers’ of empathy and insight to help audiences learn.
What's your mental health superpower?
How can vulnerability evolve to strength
Why challenging the system is needed now more than ever
Why creative healing is a personal investment
Amanda’s journey to becoming a filmmaker began with storyboarding patient’s stories at the psychiatric hospital. She learned that listening and crafting a story can be therapeutic and empowering. As she learned the art of interviewing and storyboarding, she realized that filmmaking practices translate to everyday human interactions as well. It’s rather simple: people want to be heard, appreciated, and represented. When we see others talk about mental health, it gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own.
Do we listen with intent?
How storytelling can improve access to services & support
Why strategic sharing empowers agency & accountability
How owning our personal narratives builds confidence
Amanda shares her insights starting her filmmaking and consulting business at 23 years old to serving on state and national mental health boards since she was 19 years old. She often gets asked by youth: "How did you get started in mental health?", or "How did you become a filmmaker?"
Start with your passion & what you love
Passion 1st: leading with your gut and strengths
Humility with Confidence: knowing when to step up, and when to step to the side
Equity: challenging teams and boards to be representative of their diverse communities
Just start: incremental success and leaning into discomfort