Sebastian Robertson and Bryan Coleman are well educated, successful, entrepreneurial cousins.
They share family members, and big visions, but also troubling pasts that saw them both try to take their own lives.
Seb and Bryan were both brought up by beautiful supportive families, educated in private schools, and attained university degrees in commerce/economics and communications businesses respectively.
They both enjoyed lots of travel, sports, quality time with mates, and the usual university party scene.
From the outside, life was looking great for Bryan when he finished school at the age of 18 and was pre-selected to commerce law at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
On the inside however, Bryan was dealing with feelings of deep anger and complete numbness, as he struggled to come to terms with his parents going through a divorce and his family seemingly falling apart. Making poor decisions and masking his feelings with excessive alcohol, Bryan’s inner demons took over… So much so that he tried to take his own life… But not really knowing why.
Sebastian was 22 years old when his internal battles with mental health issues had reached boiling point. He was at university and had already attempted suicide a number of times in the past, and he thought the only way to stop the feelings, was to stop everything – for good…
Are you ok Sebastian?
This was the question that started a cascade of positive movements for Sebastian’s revival. He answered it truthfully, exposed his deepest vulnerabilities, and admitted he wasn’t ok and needed help.
Sebastien reflects on this response as his life saving moment.
Three more years of reflection saw Sebastien dig deeper to find out what the barriers were that stopped him from reaching out, or how it could’ve all been prevented.
Realising it was hopelessness and shame, and not wanting to admit his feelings because he’d had such a great life, Sebastien decided he needed to share his story as he truly believed it would help others who would be suffering the same painful emotions and thoughts, “my survival was a success story — a result of one moment when I embraced the fact I needed support”.
This led to the creation of Batyr, a social enterprise that aims to give a voice to the “elephant in the room” on mental illness.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age. Alarmingly it is estimated that for every completed suicide there are 30 suicide attempts.
Batyr aims to engage, educate and empower young people to speak out about mental health issues by fostering an environment where talking about these issues and getting help is not only accepted, but is encouraged and supported.
A few years ago, Bryan reached out to his cousin Sebastian and told his story of struggle that he’d been hiding from most.
With encouragement and training from Seb, Bryan became an official speaker for the organisation, giving back to a cause that helped save his life.
Bryan spent his primary school years in Cobar, Far Western NSW, and has been part of the Batyr programs that travel to the rural areas.
He’s now loving life and pursuing the entrepreneurial life with some exciting ventures in the near future.
Sebastian’s creation of the successful not for profit organisation of Batyr has been recognised with many local and national community awards.
Since inception, Batyr has reached over 30,000 young people and trained over 150 young people to share their stories of mental ill health. In 2015 Batyr ran over 100 school programs, and excitingly after watching a Batyr program 72% of young people surveyed indicated that they would be more likely to seek help which is well above the national help seeking average of 20-25% for young people. Batyr’s aim is to reach over 250,000 young people by 2020.
Batyr doesn’t just change peoples lives, it saves peoples lives.
If you would like to support this life saving organisation like we at LIFE do, please follow this link: