A Difficult Journey
A sought-after award winning speaker, Brett advocates for mental illness awareness especially when there is confusion surrounding individuals with mental illness coming into contact with the justice system. Something he understands first-hand.
Living with mental illness since the age of ten, Brett’s world has been flipped upside-down on several occasions; losing a business, a home, many assets, friends and even estrangement from his children.
In his 30s Brett landed in jail after committing a non-violent offence as a result of his mental illness. In jail he experienced a hell beyond anything he could have imagined. Brett spent ten months psychotic in and out of ranges, medical cells, and solitary confinement. His jailers did not understand the severity of his illness and Brett experienced environments which lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
After much turmoil and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Brett was found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) and spent six years in the forensic mental health care system, two of which were spent in hospital and the remainder in the community with ongoing care and support.
Between cement walls and hospital wards Brett thought his voice would never be heard. He once wrote in a letter to his mother stating maybe in the community he would shine.
And this is where the possibilities began. After sharing some of his insight with staff members at the hospital where he received care it became evident that Brett had an astonishing gift. He could share his experiences, story and passionate opinions in a remarkable way that helps people see the human side of illness and incarceration. His written and spoken word has brought an eye-opening perspective, and often tears, to people all over including politicians, ministers, leaders, hospital staff and community members. Brett has pierced through the darkness of stigma and shone a light on a very misunderstood global issue.
A keynote speaker at conferences Brett has opened mental health care facilities, dropped the flag on expired ones, published articles and will share his story with groups and people from all walks of life. Brett’s work compellingly describes the journey through the justice system for those with mental illness. Often shocking, sometimes infuriating and frequently humorous Brett’s story is, ultimately one of hope. Brett has come face-to-face with the double stigma that surrounds people who have a mental illness and have come in contact with the law – and has obliterated it.
Beyond reverent hand shaking and pats on the back by the many people grateful to hear him, Brett has been recognized nationally for his achievements in bringing awareness to mental health care issues including the individual winner of the 2012 Mental Health Champion Award presented by the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association in London Ontario; and the 2014 Canadian Alliance On Mental Illness and Mental Health Award in Ottawa, Ontario.
Recently married, Brett is currently working on the final stages of a book and continues to advocate and educate.
For more information on Brett Batten or to discuss a presentation please email Brett at: