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Painted Brain | Painted Brain Academy
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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Painted Brain Academy

Training the next generation of Painted Brain advocates in journalism, social media, and coding.

The Academy at Painted Brain refers to our training programs for community members. Participation in our trainings are free and occasionally include a stipend of support as well. The Coding Academy, currently offered at our community center every Wednesday, is experience-based learning in the creation of apps, websites and other web programming challenges. Our Journalism Academy is a six week training course in experiential learning around various aspects of journalism including photojournalism, interviewing skills, editorial writing, reporting, research, and the use of social media to promote ideas and gather information.


DECEMBER 30th, 2018


OCTOBER 2nd, 2018


MAY 30th, 2018


Who leads Painted Brain Academy trainings?


Painted Brain Academy combines the strengths of our social work interns and peer leaders with professionals and graduate students in the fields of study. For example, Coding Academy is taught by Painted Brain’s CTO and Cofounder David Esraelian, who is also a coding professional and CEO of his own company, CodiePie. Our journalism program featured students from USC’s graduate school of journalism. Photojournalism is taught by a team of professional photographers from our friends at the BEN Group.


How is Painted Brain Academy different than other training opportunities?


Painted Brain is unique in our commitment to providing high quality training and teaching opportunities in a setting that is accepting of personal and interpersonal difference. We operate from a trauma-informed stance and accept that members of our community, and interested learners, come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Our team leaders provide a safe and supportive environment and are knowledgeable about the impacts of mental illness and trauma on personality and interpersonal style.

Choosing to offer our Coding Academy is intentional as a recognition of both the opportunities for employment available with these highly sought skills and an understanding that coding and programming are fairly solitary activities where output and ability is more important than social interaction. This can harness the secret strengths of many of our members without exposing them to unwanted social engagement requirements necessary in most areas of work.


Why do we need Painted Brain Academy?


Painted Brain is growing exponentially so in addition to training people in sustainable and interesting skills, we are also actively growing our own team and investing time and resources in developing the skills and opportunities for our members. Painted Brain is about giving voice, and the academy is about training people to use that voice as journalists and tech entrepreneurs.


Where does Painted Brain Academy happen?


The Academy is on the move. Currently and in Academies past, we have operated at our headquarters, or at least used this as a base of operations for our many outings and experiential opportunities in the community. We are in active negotiations in several areas of the Los Angeles Mental Health system in bringing our Academy to other venues. We hope and intend to offer our training program across the public social services system.


How can I get involved?


If you are interested in joining future training programs on journalism, social media coding and web design, and/or photojournalism skills, send your interest to our director at:

If you have a skill or talent that you would like to teach to our members, please contact our volunteer coordinator Kevin Naruse at

If you would like to donate money or equipment to our Academy, by all means contact us!