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Gutless & Grateful For Colleges

Back to Gutless & Grateful Main Page with all general information


Did you know?

  • According to a 2011 NAMI study,  64% of college dropouts were for mental health-related reasons.  Of those, 50% never accessed any mental health programs or services.
  • Between 20% and 30% of adolescents have one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood.
  • 73% of college students report having experienced a mental health crisis while in college.


Based in part on Amy’s personal experience surviving ten years of medical interventions, sexual abuse and PTSD, Gutless & Grateful is a 60-90 minute program combining storytelling, music, and a keynote speech. Explore key themes (through essays for Huffington Post, Washington Post and other publications) in more detail here.Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical (70 min), talk about the healing process of telling her story, and provide hope, help, resources, and insights.

  • See high school program here.
Students will learn how to:

Perfect For:

  • Mental Health Events
  • Diversity Programming
  • LGBT Awareness/Advocacy & Ally Training
  • Women’s Events and Empowerment Programming
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness
  • Business/Entrepreneurship Programs
  • Confidence, Peer-to-Peer Communication and Team-Building
  • Eating Disorder Awareness (see Eating Recovery Center Foundation Benefit)
  • First Year Orientation Programming
  • Second Year Transitional Programming
The Problem:
“Data from the 2013 National College Health Assessment II indicate that about one-third of college students across the United States had problems functioning because of depression in the last 12 months; almost half said they had felt overwhelming anxiety in the last year, 20 percent said they had seriously considered suicide in their lifetime, and 5.8 percent said they had attempted suicide. The same survey showed that four of the top five “substantial obstacles to their academic success” were sleep difficulties, stress, anxiety, and depression.”
A Strategic Primer on College Student Mental Health, 2014
Know the facts and learn where to get help.

See Gutless & Grateful Quick Facts for video clips and more information on the program.



Need a quick bio? Click here.

Learn about Gutless & Grateful as a workshop and see Workshops One-Sheet.

Gutless & Grateful strives to shift an entire college ethos in the direction of inclusion – partly to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place.  Learn about the Chapter Outreach Component here.

TLAN pic

See Amy in the media here.


Gutless & Grateful aims to:

  • Engage
  • Encourage
  • Entertain
  • Educate
  • Empower

Gutless & Grateful combines mental health advocacy, awareness and invaluable tools in a dynamic, musical theatre performance and/or interactive workshop.  Students will be informed, inspired and entertained with engaging entertainment and powerful firsthand experience told with humor, honesty and heart.

Students may feel uncomfortable reaching out to health and counseling services.  Worse, students may be unaware that these resources exist.

In 2014, a report by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the American Council on Education, and the American Psychological Association focusing on student mental health issues:

“Given the complex relationships among mental health, problematic health behaviors, learning, campus safety, and the quality of the learning environment, mental and behavioral health should be a strategic priority on every campus.  Mental health professionals lead efforts to understand and respond to the needs of students with psychological, emotional, and behavioral concerns—but not all students who could benefit from mental or behavioral health services will come to the counseling center today, or any day. Students may not recognize the need for or recognize the availability of available services.” – A Strategic Primer on College Student Mental Health, 2014

Students Speak:  College Issues

Are you a college student?  Talk to me!  You can answer as many questions as you’d like and send it my way: College Concerns Questionaire

Are you a college student interested in sharing your own detour?  Learn about becoming a Student Detourist or starting a chapter at your school.

A Few Student Responses

On campus concerns: “I’m very worried about “slipping through the cracks,”…I’m afraid of being forgotten about…I wish there were better communication.”

On counseling services: “Quite honestly, I don’t really have time right now.”

On helpful advice: “Hardships are impermanent, but that it is also important to stay present in the moment, because good experiences will pass me by if I do not.”

Book Gutless & Grateful today!


Amy giving her mental health talkback with the wellness coordinator for Hampshire College

In this inspirational, empowering performance, survivor Amy Oestreicher weaves her near death experience and unique personal story with an eclectic set of songs, highlighting the disappointments, struggles, triumphs, and humor in her life on a musical journey of hope, determination, and perseverance.  A celebration of life through creativity, passion, and gratitude,“Gutless” can touch everyone from trauma survivors to anyone needing inspirational words of courage, humor, and healing. Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical (70 min), talk about the healing process of telling her story, and providing hope, help, and resources and insights. 

This is an easy program to put on—a 90 minute, 3 component keynote/program:

Part 1) A 70-minute one-woman autobiographical musical – Gutless & Grateful – a comedic yet poignant story on surviving 27 stomach surgeries, organ failure and sexual abuse, turning those obstacles into opportunities. Through interwoven song and dialogue, Amy shares a primal piece of live-storytelling – a powerful message that it’s possible to overcome physical and mental obstacles.

Part 2) An educational session/speech discussing an empowered approach to mental health (or topic of choice), how to develop a resiliency toolbox, using creativity to heal, how to cultivate hope, and how to thrive with a physical or mental health condition.  

Part 3) A Q&A session where students have the opportunity to ask questions and where resources are introduced on campus via a wellness panel.

The program can be followed by smaller breakout sessions and interactive workshops among student groups.

Amy’s message is empowering for students not just to get through, but to get thriving.

Get in touch with me and inquire about Gutless & Grateful now!

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Amy is also available for speaking engagements. Learn more here.



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