Mental Health Advocate; Filmmaker; Social Entrepreneur
Amanda Lipp works at the intersection of mental health, storytelling, and technology. She is a Documentary Filmmaker at Lipp Studios, Founder of The Giving Gallery, and Research Associate for the Center for Applied Research Solutions.
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 60 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 journey to becoming a filmmaker began with storyboarding patient’s stories in the psychiatric hospital. Upon discharge, Amanda began producing short films about mental health with clients around the U.S. Having now interviewed over 300 people across 80 short films, Amanda has witnessed a range of powerfully vulnerable and diverse stories. In this presentation, Amanda shares short films and behind-the-scenes of her filmmaking practices. Plus, the bigger picture of how films can be applied to digital advertising, research studies, and treatment programs. And perhaps, most importantly, how filmmaking practice can translate to everyday values in life: people want to be heard, seen, and represented.
Describe the power of narrative filmmaking in personal empowerment and systems-change
Identify how films can be used in research studies to evaluate stigma and help-seeking behavior.
Describe how short documentary films can be applied in digital advertising and referral processes.
Articulate best practices around recovery-oriented, trauma-informed, and peer-to-peer film production.
Inside-Out: Symptoms to Superpowers
Amanda’s shares her personal story spending three months cycling through the psychiatric hospital system. She learned from the inside-out how the system works, witnessing people’s darkest moments – including her own. While in the hospital, a thoughtful nurse handed Amanda a box of crayons. This simple gesture became a pivotal moment in Amanda’s healing and inspired her career becoming a young leader in mental health care and documentary filmmaking. She shares how “the little things” can make all the difference, and the power of storytelling in raising awareness about mental health and improving the system.
“I believe we’re always healing from something, and optimizing our mental health is a constant practice”
Challenging traditional systems of care
Leading with vulnerability as a strength
Crafting mental health narratives
Translating shame and self-stigma into strength and opportunity
Pulling up a Seat at the Table
Amanda is aware that she stands on the shoulders of giants, and is a big believer in the power of mentorship and investing in the next generation of leaders. At the age of 19, Amanda was appointed to the board of the largest grassroots mental health nonprofit in the U.S., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), catapulting her into navigating the politics and pressures of organizational leadership and responsibility. Amanda shares her full circle journey from experiencing psychiatric hospitalization, to building a career in mental health care and filmmaking.
Leading with passion, confidence, and humility
Knowing when to step up, and step down
Being aware of our bias and agenda
The Remote World: Exploring Work-Life Balance
Now more than ever, traditional workplaces and lifestyles are being disrupted and challenged. Amanda reflects on working remotely since 2014 and the process of finding balance, discipline, and community in a virtual world. Amanda also challenges people to think about life outside of work, and what outlets help counterbalance the extremes of stress or hardship. For example, Amanda engages in extreme sports – like rock climbing and mountain biking – to counter balance her own mental health issues.
Finding work-life balance in an increasingly demanding world.