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Amber Warren Advocates for Mental Health

March 2017

Amber Warren, C’2018, is a psychology major with a concentration in mental health. Warren received a $3,000 stipend from the SHE Media Scholar Cohort Program to make a short film (7-15 minutes). The film’s purpose is to address a topic involving sexual wellness, mental health, or substance abuse among African-American women. Amber Warren

Warren’s vision for the project is to create two short films instead of one. The first will be a documentary on the transgender community on a college campus, specifically Spelman College in light of the new policies being written and discussed. The purpose of her film will be to remove the barrier that exists between the transgender and the African-American communities by helping viewers understand what it means to be a transgender person through the voices of transgender people.

Secondly, Warren will create a fictional short film involving sexual wellness and how, contrary to popular belief, it is possible for sexually transmitted diseases/infections to be contracted by individuals in the lesbian community. “From what I’ve seen, most lesbians think they are invincible. They think that if their partner is not bisexual then they will not contract a disease, which is so not true,” says Warren. 

During her college career at Spelman and through her involvement in campus organizations, academic courses and the community, Warren has been able to explore her interests in the queer community, mental wellness in the African-American community, and sexual assault.

Actively involved in the student organization, Afrekete, since her first year at Spelman, Warren is now on the leadership team as the mental health support coordinator where she is responsible for providing mental health awareness during activities and meetings, as well as support for the organization’s members.

Warren's goal is for Afrekete to “Not only be a social movement, but also a safe haven” for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community on campus. She has been able to explore what a Black LGBTQ community “Really looks like,” through Afrekete at Spelman College.

While developing her interests in mental health as a concentration, Warren has benefited from and appreciated the courses offered through Spelman's psychology department, particularly abnormal psychology. Warren said she loves the course because it discusses mental conditions that are not usually talked about in the Black community (i.e. A.D.H.D., schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder).

“[Dr. Natalie Watson-Singleton] is able to debunk our own myths....It’s a cool class because I get to really learn, understand and solidify why I want to be a psychologist," said Warren.

This year, Warren became involved with the "It’s On Us" campaign at Spelman through the organization's charter president, Vankayla Haines. Being a sexual assault survivor herself, Warren learned how to campaign and became motivated for activism from her experience. Through her community involvement with the "It’s On Us" campaign, Warren learned, “It is okay to stand up and fight for anything you believe in.... Activism has a different look for everybody, not everybody has to be on the forefront with a bullhorn.”

Warren passionately advocates for every identity. Her film productions will be completed in Spring 2017.