Maggie Newcomb Raine
Maggie Newcomb Raine is Speaker, Comedian, Writer and Mental Health Advocate. She advocates for mental illness acceptance and mental health recovery through her speaking presentations, blog and book, Chocolate Pudding in Heaven. Maggie has a BA in International Relations from UC Davis and an MA in Adult Education from San Francisco State.
Maggie got her start in public speaking as a stand-up comedian in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003. She won a comedy competition hosted by the San Jose Improv in 2004 and was a semifinalist in California’s Funniest Female competition in 2005. She worked major comedy clubs, corporate events, and charity functions all over Northern California, including opening for the industry’s best comedians.
In 2011, Maggie decided it was time to take her love for public speaking to another level and be open about her own private battle living with mental illness. Maggie was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder at the age of 16 after being hospitalized for a severe manic episode. It was an extremely difficult journey that she and her family navigated, but Maggie got the treatment that she needed. Unfortunately, the road to recovery and stability was incredibly painful and Maggie had her share of struggles over the years. Nevertheless, Maggie decided she wanted to transcend the limitations of the diagnosis and stigma to live the life that she chose. She has spent the last 25 years doing just that and learning what works for her. She is now proud of what she went through, who she is, and is inspired to share her story.
With the skills she learned from her graduate work in adult education, Maggie has developed speeches to help different groups understand mental illness and find new perspectives. For the last several years Maggie has shared positive messages about mental illness acceptance and mental health treatment to organizations and businesses in Northern California. Maggie became a member of the National Speakers Association and the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau. Maggie went on to write about her story in her book Chocolate Pudding in Heaven; The Intriguing Journey of My Bipolar Mind. Although this topic can be extremely difficult, Maggie finds a way to speak and write about these issues in a way that entertains, informs, and inspires.
Currently, Maggie lives in Sacramento with her husband and her German Shepard named Hank. In addition to Maggie’s advocacy work, she is an Assistant Director of Leadership Coordination at a non-profit that provides educational opportunities for healthcare workers, an organization that she has worked full time for over ten years. She continues to make her mental health her number-one priority by taking medication, coordinating with her care team, and working hard to create a healthy lifestyle. Like everyone, she has her ups and downs. She finds new ways to manage the issues that can come with her illness.
She hopes that by adding a bit of understanding and dash of humor to the difficult topic of mental illness people can move past the stigma and fear that often surrounds it. For more on Maggie’s unique and sometimes irreverent perspective on mental illness, check out Maggie’s Blog.
I want to spread the word that mental illness can be managed and doesn’t have to stop people from living the life they want. I believe that we, as a society, need to end the stigma so that people can get the help they need. I want all people to be proud of who they are no matter what they have been through.