Interview with Authority Magazine, September 2023

Nick likes to share

Mental Health Champions: Why & How Nick Bracks Of Move Your Mind Is Helping To Champion Mental Wellness

An Interview With Michelle Tennant Nicholson

Michelle Tennant Nicholson

Authority Magazine

Published in

Authority Magazine

8 min read

Close friends & family: I have a small group of people that offer me unconditional support and I do the same for them — it makes a huge difference.

Asa part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Nick Bracks.

Nick Bracks has dedicated his entire adult life to de-stigmatising mental illness through storytelling.

Growing up in one of the most famous political families in Australia, Nick was exposed to life in the public eye since he was 12 years old. Struggling to cope with depression and anxiety through substance abuse, Nick first gained his own notoriety in his early 20s through a publicly documented car crash that nearly killed himself and his best friend.

The drunk driving incident became a catalyst for Nick to turn his life around, exposing his mental health issues and allowing him to get the help he desperately needed. The media attention he gained after the crash led to a modelling career and an invitation to participate as a contestant on “Dancing With The Stars”. While on Dancing With The Stars, Nick took the opportunity to speak publicly about his battle with depression and anxiety, becoming a pioneer in mental health advocacy.

Since then, Nick has developed a successful public speaking career on the topic, conducting over 1,000 talks at organisations around the world, including several TED talks. The “Neighbours” actor is also a successful entrepreneur, founding Move Your Mind Pty Ltd — a corporate wellness software for employees in construction and similar industries. Nick released his first book with publisher Wiley in 2021 and currently runs a podcast under the same name — Move Your Mind.

Today, Nick is focusing on growing his business, while hosting DAB+ radio show “Soul Trader” on Disrupt Radio, his public speaking, and working towards the production of his own dark comedy TV show, Amiss.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Igrew up in Williamstown, which is in the western suburbs of Melbourne. I was a very shy kid and was more into sports than drama, competing at a national level in Athletics, Cricket and Football. I come from a very close knit family and am lucky to have such good people around me. I was not very confident as a kid and used sports as my outlet.

You are currently leading an initiative that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit more specifically about what you are trying to address?

My company, Move Your Mind, was born out of necessity. Having spent the last decade facilitating seminars and speaking in the corporate wellness space, I saw firsthand the difficulties organisations face in creating mentally healthy workplaces. This was especially evident in male-dominated industries, like construction and the trades. Working closely with mental health providers and industry experts, our wellness management software has been intentionally designed to address these pain-points, to support employee wellbeing, and to improve company culture.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

For years, I had been suffering and done too little about it. I would come up with every excuse possible to avoid being vulnerable and confronting these issues. I knew that things would not magically get better, but I was afraid of my own shadow and too scared to do anything about it. I was also becoming more self-destructive and didn’t see a way out; nor did I want a way out as I felt I had nothing left that I cared about.

It got to a point where I couldn’t leave my bed even to do something as simple as walk downstairs and wash the dishes. I was almost catatonic. I couldn’t hide the severity of what I was experiencing from my family either, and finally my mum intervened. She dragged me to a psychologist to get the help I so desperately needed. I was now 20 years old.

It was during my first session with the psychologist that I found out I was severely depressed. Even after all I had been through, it still came as a shock. I saw depression as something I was stronger than and thought it was embarrassing for a man to fall victim to such a thing. But this feeling very quickly turned to relief as I was shown examples of people who had been through similar things and had come out okay at the other end. I began to understand why it was happening to me, to be able to own up to my story and then start to move beyond making plans about how to make changes.

I found this incredibly liberating. When you’re in such a state, often no amount of reasoning or logic will change your mind. You feel so overwhelmed that the thought of facing the future is simply untenable to you. I felt like my life was over and so riddled with emotional pain that no words could describe what it felt like. Now, it really scares me to think back to those times where I had e l i lost all hope. But equally, I’m thankful that I experienced them and am forever grateful I have such a close-knit family and friends who love me. I know now that if I hadn’t experienced all of this, I wouldn’t be able to develop the same level of empathy for others who were suffering.

It also taught me to never judge, to always listen and never compare two situations. Everyone has their own story, and everyone’s suffering is relevant under their given circumstances. The key is taking action before things become bigger and bigger problems.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

When I finally realised that no one is going to do it for you. This is a simple thing to realize but also profound as it is very common to play the victim, pretend we are putting in the work when we are not and to not be honest with ourselves.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

I have had so many. Over the past 13 years I have spoken at organisations around the world more than 1,000 times. One of the most profound story happened a number of years ago following a presentation in a factory in Melbourne. One of the leaders came up to us after the talk and revealed he was at such a low point that he had plans to end his life. He was not only able to get help but eventually returned to work and used his story to help others.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I could not do anything without mentors and have been lucky to have them through every phase of my life. Again, too many to mention but the most impactful was my uncle Bruce. He always believed in, saw himself in me and was there for me since I was a kid wanted to be an athlete — at the time he would train with me three times per week and comes to my events. He encouraged me as an actor, understood me and always told me I could do it. He sadly passed away and has left a lasting impact on me. I am dedicating everything I do to him.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

There is a lot of talk but not enough action. We need more preventative solutions. We also need to learn to cope in the modern world amongst the non stop noise. Until we can feed our mind with healthy content and have boundaries it will be difficult to be mentally healthy.

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

Support comes down to people at all levels doing something. The government simply do not do enough and big change only happens when each individual puts their hand up and takes action. If we always wait for others, no big change will happen. It’s up to all of us.

What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own well-being and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

I do the following on the daily:

Exercise: I am from a sporting background so this became part of my life. Movement for me is the best thing I can do for my mental health.

Meditation: I learnt Vedic meditation 10+ years ago and still do it to this day. It changed my life.

Close friends & family: I have a small group of people that offer me unconditional support and I do the same for them — it makes a huge difference.

Work: Having a career that gives me meaning and purpose means I never really work. It’s what I would do regardless and it makes me feel fulfilled.

Habits: Having daily habits and routines really helps me stay in check.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

I really love the Armchair expert with Dax Sheppard podcast and my favourite book is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I really love listening to stories from other which is why we started the Move Your Mind podcast — to do just that. Here is a link: nickbracks.com/podcast

If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would ask them ‘what is more important?’. We live in a capitalistic world that takes us away from authenticity. Helping others and leaving the world better than when we entered is the most important thing we can do and makes us feel amazing and connected to others. We will all benefit if more of us think like this.

How can our readers follow you online?

Here are some links — would love you to check them, including the book, podcast and community platform!:






This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

About the Interviewer: Inspired by the father of PR, Edward Bernays (who was also Sigmund Freud’s nephew), Michelle Tennant Nicholson researches marketing, mental injury, and what it takes for optimal human development. An award-winning writer and publicist, she’s seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Michelle co-founded WasabiPublicity.com