Amanda Saake is currently the Special Assistant to the Commissioner at the New York State Office of Mental Health. In this role, she serves as the interface between individuals and families served by the public mental health system and OMH staff responsible for programmatic and policy decisions. She also provides leadership for Peer Support services. She is dedicated to strengthening the opportunities for the Peer workforce to have upward mobility in their careers and expanding opportunities for Peer Specialists to work in positions throughout the behavioral system of care.
Before this appointment, Amanda served as the Director of Training at The Coalition for Behavioral Health in New York City. In that role, Amanda oversaw training and technical assistance efforts that were intended to build the capacity of community-based providers to deliver high quality, recovery-oriented services so more people can achieve the promise of recovery. Amanda has provided training on Person-Centered Recovery Planning for eight years for a variety of providers working in behavioral health settings. In addition to trainings, she has provided workshops at local, regional, and national conferences alongside leading national Person-Centered Recovery Planning experts.
Amanda has more than 15 years’ experience providing direct service and supervision in the human services workforce. Amanda has worked in a broad range of settings, including supportive housing, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), harm reduction, LGBT youth outreach, Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS), and outpatient mental health as both a practitioner and supervisor.
Amanda’s commitment to high quality, person-centered care is also personal, stemming back to her first encounters with the mental health system at the age of 17. Amanda attributes her career as one of the most important aspects of her recovery journey. For most of her career as a social worker, Amanda did not share her personal lived experience with mental health issues, in part due to the stigma that still permeates our system of care. Today, however, Amanda intentionally shares her recovery story hoping that more traditionally-trained practitioners will be comfortable sharing their stories, too, which will help combat stigma within our system.
Amanda has been a member of the Certification Commission for Psychiatric Rehabilitation’s (CPRP) Board of Subject Matter Experts since 2013. She has served as a Commissioner for the PRA Certification Commission since 2019. In 2016, Amanda received the New York Nonprofit Media’s “40 under 40 Rising Star” award. Amanda also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater. Amanda received the Brendan Nugent Leadership Award in 2020. The Brendan Nugent Leadership Award is presented to an inspiring peer leader in promoting and advocating for the empowerment of people with psychiatric disabilities in New York State.
Amanda is a graduate of Marywood University (Scranton, PA) and Columbia University School of Social Work (New York, NY). Amanda is a Licensed Master Social Worker, Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner and a Provisional New York Certified Peer Specialist.