Team Strong 365
Chantel Garrett founded Strong 365 to drive radical change in the way we view mental health and how we access care.
As supporter and advocate for her brother who lives with schizophrenia, Chantel’s work merges a personal passion with her professional background as a senior leader with 20+ years of cross-sector experience in corporate strategy, marketing, nonprofit leadership, and public health program design and research.
Chantel earned a B.S. in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington. She and her husband are raising two daughters while keeping track of a dog, cat and chickens, and attempting to grow things in their backyard. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be found @Chantel and on LinkedIn.
National Leadership Board
Strong 365’s Leadership Board members guide strategy and content for the project and help create a welcoming, safe community by sharing their stories of finding strength through struggle. This team is the engine and inspiration behind our efforts to connect young people to the support and treatment they deserve.
Mel Batchelor graduated from University of Southern Maine with a BA in Women and Gender Studies. Being diagnosed with a psychotic disorder in college led to her involvement with mental health advocacy and disability justice. Online, she is most active on her Instagram page, @acutepsychotic, where she discusses psychosis and mental health activism. She is currently serving through AmeriCorps at a small suicide prevention coalition.
Syrena Clark grew up in small-town Maine and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at age 21. Her diagnosis has since changed to Schizoaffective Disorder to accommodate for her manic and depressive episodes. After taking a break from school she’s back studying Public Health at Husson University. Her goal is to become an advocate for people with psychosis as they navigate the mental healthcare system. She is an author, writing for TheMighty, Vice, and Conscious Magazine. She has her own blog, syrenaclark.com.
Bay Area native Brandon Chuang is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology at UC Berkeley pursuing his PhD. His research interests involve understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms of social cognition and emotion. In addition to serving on the National Youth Leadership Board for Strong 365, Brandon uses his personal experience with psychosis as an volunteer educator and advocate with San Francisco NAMI. Brandon has spoken to local and national audiences about his personal story and his research.
Andrew Echeguren grew up in San Francisco, describing his upbringing as “all-American; happy go lucky.” He experienced psychosis as a high schooler, and after an initial hospitalization, received treatment at UCSF’s early intervention program. After finding recovery, Andrew went on to graduate in Spanish Literature at Occidental College, and recently began a career in communications at WCG in San Francisco.
Andrew’s story has been featured on PBS Newshour, and he has spoken about his experience at local and national conferences. He wants young people to know that they are not alone, and that support is available.
Christine Marie Frey is the International Award-Winning Author of Brain XP: Living with Mental Illness, A Young Teenager’s Perspective, the first mental health book written by a teenager. Christine started showing signs of anxiety, depression, and psychosis at age 12. Her isolation led her to create the Brain XP Project. Brain XP provides hope to youth battling mental challenges, letting them know that they are not alone, they are not crazy, but rather their minds are special, with greater creativity, empathy, and insight – their brains are expanded: BRAIN XP! Christine is an engaging public speaker, musical recording artist and mental health activist.
Ryan is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin who will be pursuing a medical degree in the near future. At the moment, she uses her experiences growing up in a medically underserved area to advocate for children and young people who — because of location, socioeconomic status, stigma, or other factors — do not have access to the medical care and mental health services they deserve. She is works at a center for children with developmental delays and/or chronic illness, and she volunteers in a lab whose mission it is to expand the use of empirically supported practices in youth mental health clinics. You can find her on Twitter at @jryanhuff.
Carlos A. Larrauri R.N., B.S.N.
Carlos A. Larrauri R.N., B.S.N. serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI Miami-Dade County. Diagnosed with schizophrenia at 23 years of age, maintenance on a low-dose medication regimen, along with a holistic approach emphasizing diet, exercise and adequate sleep, afforded him the best opportunity for recovery. He is currently earning a master’s degree for practice as a family nurse practitioner and plans on on pursuing further graduate education for practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He aspires to interface clinical practice, health policy and research, to reduce health inequities for people living with mental illness. Mr. Larrauri is excited be part of the Strong 365’s Youth Leadership Board. Providing forum for the voices of youth living in recovery will help transform the discourse on mental illness and stop the stigma. Learn more about Carlos and his work on his website.
Amanda Lipp graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 2014. She runs her own business, working as a consultant and multi-media artist with local to national level agencies and federal grants across the United States. She is a board member on various mental health organizations, and speaks publicly around the nation to raise mental health awareness and inspire innovative systems change. Learn more about Amanda and her work on her website.
Tiffany Martinez, PMHNP-BC
Tiffany Martinez lives in Maine and works as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Tiffany was fortunate to get effective treatment and support at an early psychosis program shortly after experiencing the first signs as a college freshman at the age of 17. In addition to her own personal experience, she has the perspective of a daughter of a father who lives with schizophrenia. Tiffany’s inspiring story has been featured in USA Today. Learn more about Tiffany’s experience with treatment and recovery.
McKian is based in Southern California, where he is a psychology student at California State University Northridge. He has experience as a Certified Peer Specialist and NAMI teacher, facilitator and speaker. He also serves as an Advisory Board member and chair of the Transitional Aged Youth Committee for the Ventura County Behavioral Health system. In that role, McKian had a hand in advocating for early intervention services for psychosis in Ventura County. He is a strong advocate for early intervention because he believes he would have benefitted from getting help earlier.
Anh currently resides in Nashville, TN and has a deep passion for public health and social justice. In 2014, Anh interned with The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, where she researched state, national, and international mental health policies. Anh has also worked with a crisis intervention center and refugee mental health organization. First serving as Strong 365’s Volunteer Outreach & Operations Coordinator, Anh is excited to be a part of the Leadership Board and bring her passion for youth health and well-being by connecting young people to mental health care.
Adam Swanson, MPP
Adam Swanson, MPP, is dedicated to public health equity. He helps state governments, health care organizations and universities improve the quality of care for people in crisis as the senior prevention specialist at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Adam has served on international expert panels to address minority health disparities, and managed national programs to help behavioral health organizations adopt new treatment services for youth with serious mental illnesses. In U.S. Senate, he helped advance anti-bullying legislation and HIV/AIDS reforms. Adam is a former Mental Health America fellow. You can find him on Twitter @AdamDSwanson.
Becca Vines is an aspiring activist interested in intersectional research. They experienced psychosis at a young age which led to an early hospitalization in high school. Becca was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder when they were a freshman in college at 18. They recently graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a BS in International Political Affairs and a certificate in gender studies. Becca eventually hopes to go back for graduate school where they will focus on intersectionality and rights as it pertains to several different communities including the LGBTQ+ and disabled community.
We also recognize a number of talented Leadership Board members who lead Strong 365 from behind the scenes.
Thank you for all that you do.