Senior Program Associate, Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies
THE JOY OF THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT
Fast fact: Saake grew up in New Jersey
Amanda Saake teaches behavioral health care providers the best ways to help people who are struggling. She uses her personal experiences as well as her knowledge as a social worker to provide trainings and advocacy. She frequently presents at regional and national conferences and her areas of expertise include fostering recovery-oriented practice, person-centered planning, facilitating recovery-focused groups, setting meaningful recovery goals, cognitive behavioral techniques in-group work and integrating health and wellness in outpatient mental health programs.
NYN: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
AS: When I was younger I was really fortunate. I had a lot of friends who would confide their stories in me, things that were personal, or struggles with mental health issues. I found that I appreciated and enjoyed being able to provide support and to also validate some of the challenges and experiences that I was facing. That coupled with the fact that my father is a social worker. I really liked it and I never looked back.
NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF.
AS: My greatest accomplishment is that I get to provide trainings and programmatic technical support to New York City-based community behavioral health providers. Being able to provide the best practices, tools and resources to this audience, who is completely overworked and sometimes even under-trained. I work directly with trainings to the workforce, and just seeing these people with a lightbulb going off is incredibly rewarding.
NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?
AS: The organization where I work is a trade organization where our members are the community behavioral nonprofit agencies. Thinking about the agencies as the folks we serve, it would help to have more sustainable funding and access to fair salaries for advocacy to government and non-government entities. Obviously money is a big one because this field is very underpaying and under-resourced. A big change would be both more resources and a better distribution of resources to adequately support the behavioral health workforce.
NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?
AS: What I would love to do is go back and get my doctorate in social work. I’d love to eventually teach in graduate school for social work.
NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB
AS: I think myself and my organization are resources that they can use to help better support their staff in order to support and foster change in their organizations. We’re not just training, we also provide advocacy, we bring groups together, and our job essentially is to serve them. We are a resource to the community-based nonprofit behavioral health provider.