Amanda Springob is a professional motivational speaker and undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee currently pursuing a degree in Communications. During her freshman year at UWM, Springob spoke at the student-run initiative TEDxUWMilwaukee where she shared personal experiences of living with a mental illness as well as the journey she took to find happiness. Since then, Springob has capitalized on her success and created her own health education startup company, A+ Life.
“Mental health is a difficult issue for even adults to discuss,” says Springob. “But because I’m a millennial and I’m able to relate to other millennials, I feel like I have a responsibility to bridge that generational gap between teachers and teenagers so important dialogues like these can actually happen.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million) in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness in a given year. But with help from A+ Life and a combination of speeches, websites and related resources, Springob combats these statistics and instills concepts of imperfection, honesty and empowerment to show students and teachers that there’s more to life than struggling with mental health.
“It became clear to me that although my speeches were helping some people, there were others that needed just a little more encouragement,” explains Springob. “That’s why I created A+ Life, for all of those who need more than just a day to make that positive lifestyle change.”
With support from the UWM Research Foundation, Springob joined the Student Startup Challenge and through customer discovery, entrepreneurial networking and educational workshops learned how to build a successful and effective business. Springob hopes in the future to create a student mental health organization, various mental health workshops and a blog that will foster more conversations about mental illness between millennials.
“Don’t make the excuse that you can’t chase a dream because you don’t have the time, money or knowledge to do so,” says Springob. “Mental health is one of the hardest stigmas to break, and it won’t happen overnight. It will take time. But being part of the forward momentum now means that I’m making positive changes in people’s lives today, and that’s really all that matters.”