Video transcript

Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people 15 to 44.

I'm Nic Brown the CEO at batyr.

Batyr is a youth mental health organisation. We deliver education programs in schools, universities and workplaces. We train young people to share their lived experience of mental ill health so that we can encourage other young people to access support, reduce the stigma around mental health and make sure that young people are getting the support they need when they need it.

I studied sport and exercise science and major major in sport management it was some of the best times of my life spending time with friends and living in Ballina on the beach.

It is a tight-knit community so you really get to know the lecturers

and the tutors and build a really good relationship.

I love sport and I love recreation and I love the idea of using sport and recreation for good.

I was a recreation support worker on Nauru I got to have the great opportunity to take the asylum seekers out into the community and play cricket or organise their haircuts and all of that sort of thing that just provided those moments of respite in a really difficult situation.

I mean it wasn't changing their lives, but I was providing little moments of joy and I think that really sort of put into me a desire to want to help people thrive and live good life good lives whatever that may look like for them.

We lose eight lives to suicide every single day and so the impact that that has on this country and on communities and on families and individuals is immense.

I don't think it's talked about enough and I don't think we're doing enough to solve that problem.

So I want to be a part of solving that problem.

With suicide as the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44, Nic Brown is striving to reduce the stigma around mental ill-health and provide young people with the support they need.

As the CEO of batyr, a not-for-profit youth mental health organisation, he’s leading positive change by ‘giving a voice to the elephant in the room'.

Batyr delivers education programs in schools, universities and workplaces, giving them the knowledge and skills to lead mentally healthy lives.

“We train young people to share their lived experience of mental ill-health to encourage other young people to access support and reduce the stigma around mental health,” he said.

Nic joined the Sydney-based organisation in 2015 as the Schools Program Manager, developing and implementing the batyr@school program across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

Quickly moving up the ranks of the organisation, Nic has supported the growth and development of batyr from a team of six employees, to nearly 60 full time and part time staff and over 200 contractors and casual employees. Batyr has also seen incredible growth in income, from $1 million in 2015 to $7 million in 2020, directly increasing their reach and impact.

“Our programs have now reached close to 300,000 young people through face to face programs and maintained important measures around attitudes toward seeking help,” Nic said.

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science in 2011 from Southern Cross University in Lismore, working with young people and not for profit organisations has been a focus of Nic’s career.

“I love sport and I love recreation and I love the idea of using them for good,” he said.

During his time at Southern Cross, Nic worked as a lifeguard at the Lismore campus pool and volunteered as convener of the water polo team.

“It was some of the best times of my life, spending time with friends and living by the beach in Ballina. Southern Cross is a tight-knit community so you really get to know the lecturers and the tutors and build a really good relationship,” he said.

Before starting at batyr, Nic worked as a Recreation Support Worker for the Salvation Army, leading recreation and sporting activities with asylum seekers in Nauru’s offshore processing centres.

“I wasn’t changing their lives, but I was able to provide little moments of joy and that really put into me a desire to want to help people thrive and live a good life, whatever they may look like for them,” Nic said. 

“We lose nine lives to suicide every single day so the impact that that has on this country and on communities and on individuals is immense. I don’t think it’s talked about enough and I don’t think we’re doing enough to solve that problem, so I want to be a part of solving that problem.”

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