We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Bales and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind Brought to Reality (BTR) is that our son Nick created it with a purpose to support teen mental health awareness. Nick is an entrepreneur at heart. He also struggles with anxiety and depression and creating artwork for his clothing brand was one of the ways he would cope. On September 29, 2018, at the young age of 17, Nick ended his life by suicide. Our hearts are broken forever, but I refuse to let that stop me. BTR brings awareness to teen mental health. If you wear BTR you either struggle with mental wellness, know someone who does, or want to help those that do. I believe our brand is successful because our mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health and the prevention of teen suicide which is overlooked today. This impacts the kids, the families, the schools and the communities. The kids get it. The kids have many of the solutions. They’re tired of losing their friends. The adults perpetuate the stigma of mental health and the kids are breaking through. The kids want to see change.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My story is a sad story that I wish I didn’t have to be living or sharing. I’m a mom. A mom who is devoted to her kids and husband. I have two beautiful boys. I lost my older son, Nick to suicide on 9-29-18 at the young age of 17. My son was an entrepreneur at heart. He was also incredibly creative, smart, kind, loyal, honest, a great son and brother, and an awesome friend. Nick would create designs and apply them to hoodies or t-shirts and sell them through his website. This is how Nick would cope with his anxiety and depression. After losing Nick, his friends really started to honor him through his clothing, wearing a piece of Nick in every design. This is where it all began. The kids got behind it. More and more every day. BTR became a movement that provided a platform for kids to recognize their own mental wellness issues and give them hope. Hope for living. Hope to talk about their struggles. Hope for seeking help and being validated. BTR supports that it’s ok not to be ok. BTR is helping teens to start the dreaded conversation of how they really feel. This generation, these kids are breaking down the stigma. It hasn’t been easy. It’s bittersweet. I’m told all the time that BTR is helping so many and saving lives. But I struggle with the never ending pain that I didn’t save my son. What gets me through each and every day is knowing that Nick is guiding me to help others. He is shining his light on us. The BTR movement has begun. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our son Nick, may he rest in pure bliss. And to our community for all the continuous outpour of love and support.