Do you have Tourette's? Awesome! How about anxiety? Great! Depression? So what?! ADHD, OCD? Right on!
Hi! I’m Brett Francis, professional speaker and mental health advocate, with a TV and radio show. I’m also an author and has mental health clothing line aimed towards having open and honest discussion about mental health and disabilities and also to give confidence to those struggling.
There was once a little girl, only 6 years old, who was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and severe ADHD. This caused her to struggle through the entirety of her school years with not only her grades but also with being bullied harshly, unable to even turn to her family who didn't understand her, and no matter what she tried (and she did!) to fit in, however she attempted to change herself, all she ended up with was severe depression, the lingering thoughts of feeling broken, wondering what was wrong with her, and medications for over eleven years.
When she was 17 years old, she was also diagnosed with anxiety, OCD and panic disorder. This has caused her to encounter many barriers as she grew into an adult and became a business woman.
Then, in 2012, this young woman was involved in two serious motor vehicle accidents. She was off from work for almost 1 full year because of the injuries she suffered, and is living with chronic pain ever since. Yet, despite these injuries, she pushed on, and came out stronger than ever.
I'm here to tell you what you probably already know: stories like that are sadly not as unique as we'd like to think. I'd also like to tell you that it's not a disadvantage, and definitely not the end of the line or a life sentence.
“From the first time I met with Brett her passion for advocating for persons living with mental health diagnoses was evident. Her passion for breaking down barriers for those in similar shoes encouraged me to invite her to speak at the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW)’s annual Business Awards Luncheon this year. Her dedication to the idea of equality is contagious, and her story touched everyone that was in attendance – some of our clients even pulled me aside after the event to thank me for finding such a motivational and fantastic guest speaker such as Brett! I would encourage anyone and everyone to book Brett as your next guest speaker for any and all future events, you will definitely not be disappointed!”
Sarah Thomas - Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work
"The first podcast I have ever listened to was "Not Broken Radio" on 12-25-16. I found your site advertised or suggested on my Face Book page and decided to explore the website. I read enough to be intrigued, that is usually enough, to listen to the "Hypochondria/Health Anxiety Podcast". The sound was clear, the pace was perfect to keep interest, Ms. Francis and her guests filled a large void of information regarding the topic. I too, am an advocate and have been a speaker at C.I.T (Crisis Intervention Training) and for local college students. There is more and mostly with NAMI (National Alliance Mental Illness) here in Florida. Also diagnosed Major Depressive Disorder and learning each day how to maintain a stable mood and functionality. I will be back to listen to other podcasts and may tune in for a live broadcast. Keep up the great work."
Mike M - Listener of Brett's show, Not Broken® Radio
Fact is, everyone is able to forge experiences like that into strengths and personal power, even if they don't know it yet. This may be you, your loved ones, your friends or co-workers, since the solution isn’t something that needs any particular talent. It’s a philosophy. A state of mind.
It can not only shape your life, but it will also help others in theirs. My philosophy involves three simple approaches that have helped me and many others in overcoming mental health barriers, disabilities, anxiety and stress, difficulties in business, entrepreneurship, relationships, life and health! Working with me helps you embrace your true self and feel empowered about it! My work with individuals, groups, associations and businesses makes them understand and work through mental health barriers.
I have a simple, uplifting and refreshing style that helps many transform how they feel about themselves and their struggles. I've faced many challenges with anxiety, disabilities, life and businesses, and yet (or exactly because of it!) I came out on top as a strong business woman, the proud Owner, CEO and President of multiple companies. I'm constantly learning and am passionate about expanding my knowledge.
There is one simple thing I'd like everyone to understand: you are not broken. I spent a lot of my life feeling broken and have I’ve dedicated my life to making sure not only you, but every single person understands this very baseline truth. Misconceptions, lackluster education and the lack of general awareness had created a stigma, but the person that can fight it? It’s you. Maybe you already are, maybe you just want to, but one thing is certain: you can. I am, as plenty of others, every single day of their lives, with or without disabilities of their own, and the thing that binds it all together? The realization that challenge and disability doesn’t equal disadvantage.
Recall that little girl I told you about? I am that girl. I lived to learn that virtually nothing has to be disabling and I’ve activated a power that I may not have found without those experiences. Now I share my empowerment and experiences to educate others, stop the stigma and give others struggling confidence in their own challenges. Having a mental health challenge or disability does not mean that we are broken.
"Brett is a professional speaker and an entrepreneur. She has written a book, records a radio show, and is really freaking strong (just look at her arms!). Brett also has Tourette syndrome and first hand experience working through other mental illnesses.
And she says "that's great!"
Last night, the Business & Professional Women of Regina hosted an amazing event, with inspiring women spreading important messages. The thing about important messages is that they need to be shared. Not just by the people who were a part of the story, but by people who have heard the story. And the story I heard last night about celebrating mental illness is one that needs to be shared.
Say what now? Isn't mental illness this terribly, horrible, dark and scary thing that we want to avoid at all cost? After all, even Clara Hughes admits on her website that she couldn't bring herself to tell her own mother about her depression (her Mom found out from T.V.) because she didn't want it to be a burden.
So, why should we celebrate something that is such a burden? Well...
Who says it's a burden? - What makes it a burden? - Who says it's not a good thing? - How can mental illness possibly be a good thing? - Is there anything in your life that you've been able to say, or do, or feel, or express - because you have a mental illness? - Maybe you're able to empathize with others on a deep and genuine level. - Maybe you are very in tuned with how others are feeling. - Maybe you developed a sense of strength. - Maybe you've written a book or a blog. - Maybe you've been able to share your story with 1 other person who now has hope because of you.
Those are just a few of the reasons why mental illness is worth celebrating.
I came away from last night looking at mental illness with a different lens. A positive lens. And although it doesn't feel quite right say that yet (it's a huge shift in mindset!), it also feels very right.
To all my friends who are struggling and triumphing as you read this. Right on! You are who you are, and I love you for it - not in spite of your mental illness, but because of it."
Kelly Tunison - HR 2.0 Strategy Consulting
Through professional speaking, hosting my TV and radio show, writing my book, providing seminars and coaching, creating my mental health clothing line, I have inspired thousands of people dealing with struggles to fit in, feel “normal”, and overcome the barriers in their lives by rocking their challenges.
Just as an example, here are my three most popular topics:
"The invisible woman unlocking the unique power of misunderstood people with mental health challenges and disabilities"
“They see me but they don’t really see me" - This topic is tailored to all audiences whether they are people who live with these challenges themselves, or it’s their loved ones, co-workers, bosses, and even people who don't have any personal or family experiences with mental health issues and disabilities. I like to focus on general understanding, correcting misconceptions and teaching people how to talk about it and side-step the stigma. Turning disabilities into "abilities" and how we can embrace our challenges and use them to our advantage! I like to do this in a fun and light-hearted way because people are less awkward and more inclined to be involved.
"The things we know but do not say - Love languages of mental health challenges and disabilities"
Understanding others with mental health challenges and disabilities.
"Is everyone here crazy? - Managing mental health in the workplace"
Each speech/seminar targets very important levels within an organization that can have a major impact on people suffering with mental health conditions as well as severe corporate/organizational economic loss.
I have been active in the business community for a number of years and have been involved in several other successful business ventures. I have a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful in business. As previous Vice President of Sales and Marketing positions with large corporations, among other great ventures and experiences, I possess strong entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to not only move forward with new business ventures, but to make them a great success! I bring abundant energy, drive to succeed, dedication, passion and integrity to everything that I do!
I'm an active member in the community and currently involves myself with many things such as working with disabled, volunteering and fundraising as part of a number of mental health organizations and have been involved with many other causes and non-profit organizations in the last decade. I'm also endorsed by mental health associations across the globe as a Mental Health Advocate, including but not limited to: Mental Health America and Canadian Mental Health Foundation, and am Mental Health First Aid Certified.
I share my life experiences in my presentations from my struggles in school, with jobs, money, relationships, self-confidence, anxiety, disabilities all the way through to growing my own successful businesses from ground up, starting from nothing.
I started my first company when I was 22 years old. How? I practice my simple philosophy to overcome numerous barriers every single day.