Lisa Blair Sabey grew up in a large family. Her best friend was her sister who was just 13 months older. This sister struggled from a young age with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and obesity. That was Lisa's introduction to mental illness. She grew up just east of BYU in a place nicknamed, "Happy Valley." It came as a shock when a neighbor died by suicide. Lisa spent time in Taiwan and China, graduated from BYU, married and had 6 children--5 sons and 1 daughter. When Lisa was 40, she had her personal experience with depression. Luckily, medication helped. Just a few years after that her fifth child was thrown into the darkness of serious mental illnesses that included suicide ideation. This child wanted to die for years--and had several attempts. Those years were Lisa's greatest education. She read over 60 books about mental illnesses, mental wellness and the brain. All this is what fueled her passion to make movies.
Lisa is the founder and president of Parents-to-Parents, a 501(c)(3) NPO that is dedicated to using film to support families' mental wellness. Parents-to-Parents has produced 3 documentaries:
1. Anorexia: What Parents Need to Know is used internationally at eating disorder centers.
2. Going Sane identifies cracks in the mental health system, especially the crack of not embracing families as the most powerful resource to help a loved one deal with mental illnesses. It won the Impact Award.
3. American Tragedy follows the story of Columbine shooter Dylan's mom, Sue Klebold, from agony to mental health advocacy and her friends' stories of having a son die by suicide. This movie won best documentary at the Boston Film Festival and is now available on most video on demand platforms.
Lisa's journey as a mother helped her see how vital family is to mental health and the health of communities. She also has seen how blame simplifies complex problems and excuses people from being part of the solution. This was reinforced when her son was in a school shooting and the shooter was one of his friends.
She now is a grandmother with 8 grandchildren. Her journey as a grandmother has given her great hope that we CAN teach children early on how to deal with anxiety, negative thinking and failure. She has great hope in the future!