I’ve spent over half of my life finding ways to make mental health approachable for everyone. I was the Director of Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign from 2002-2010. I had the opportunity to make challenging mental health messages relevant to large audiences.
During my time with NMHAC I worked with some of the top mental health professionals in the country to create the first ever youth mental health speakers’ bureau, develop an effective high school program to increase help seeking behavior and presented a positive mental health message to over 1 million people. I’ve trained over 50 speakers.
My passion for mental health comes from personal experience
I visited my oldest brother in the psychiatric ward of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital when I was 11.
At age 16, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with anger control problems and psychotic features. In my senior year of high school I was hospitalized for attempting to take my own life and later that year had to take a leave of absence from American University due to a relapse with bipolar disorder.
I returned to American 4 years later and graduated with a B.A. in psychology. I started speaking about my story with bipolar disorder to help others think about their lives when I was 17.
Sharing my story has also helped me achieve balanced mental health.
I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana from 2010 to 2012. When I got home from the Peace Corps I saw that there were a lot of gaps preventing people from getting the vital mental health messages they need. I started a company to address those needs.
A social innovator who has pioneered the youth mental health movement
I consult with companies, colleges, high schools and other organizations that need help in finding ways to reach people with a mental health message. I also have 2 keynote presentations. Behind Happy Faces reduces reduce stigma, empowers others to seek help and educates people about mental health. Mixed Drinks, Mixed Emotions focuses on the main reasons people cope with substances, and examines the ties between substance abuse and mental health.
Award-winning mental health advocate
I wrote a book titled, Behind Happy Faces; Taking Charge of Your Mental Health, that has been used as Common Reading at colleges and universities across the country.
I’m happy to help in anyway I can to educate others about mental health.