Nick Bales started Brought to Reality (BTR) in 2016 while he was a sophomore at Arapahoe High School near Denver, Colorado. Nick suffered from anxiety and depression, and focusing on BTR enabled him to be creative, keep busy, and stay grounded in reality. Through his brand, Nick sought to bring awareness to teen mental health and to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

Most importantly, Nick strived to encourage compassion among his peers. In his college essay, Nick wrote: “We should all help each other get through the difficult times.” Unfortunately, Nick did not have the opportunity to apply to college because he lost his battle against mental illness on September 29, 2018. 

I don’t talk much openly about this, but I have suffered with depression for a while and BTR genuinely encouraged me to reach out for help and made me know it was okay. I now see a therapist and am on medication and I have you guys to thank for helping save my life. Nick was an amazing person and I wish I would’ve known him better, but I think it’s amazing how much you guys have carried on his legacy.

- Jack D.

I absolutely love my BTR sweatshirt, and I just want to emphasize again how much this brand means to me and a lot of other people suffering from mental health issues. Nick started this brand, but you and your family have continued his legacy and he would be so proud.

- Eaton S.

I wear my BTR hoodies and mask loud and proud! I feel excited when someone asks me what BTR means and I can share it’s purpose to encourage kids to talk to someone and get the help they need when they are feeling down. It really makes me feel good to represent BTR and Nick’s cause.

- Beck

I was in a dark place for awhile, I didn’t know what to do or who I could trust to talk about my depression and suicidal thoughts. One day as I was looking for some inspiration, I heard of Nick’s story and looked up BTR and BTR opened my eyes to so much more than my struggles. I’ve been almost two years clean of any self harm. I want to help spread Nick’s words and end the stigma.

- Noah R.

thank you so much. you are truly changing the world. nick was so loved by so many people. he is truly living on with all of the love you are bringing. thank you so much. you saved me.  hearing nicks story really encouraged me to get help in a time i don’t think i would’ve otherwise. thank you so much for everything you’re doing. you truly are saving lives.

- Sophie R.

BTR is more than just a clothing brand. It’s a community that people can trust. BTR has inspired people to be themselves and that they can talk to anyone whenever they need it most. That’s why I love BTR and will always wear the hoodies.

- Kyle B.

BTR is not just a brand, it is a community of people that understand that depression is an illness, and genuinely want to see you get better.  BTR and the Bales family have created an environment that fosters trust and care that encourages their members feel comfortable reaching out for help. Depression should never be fought alone, work together not against. Thank you, for all you do, BTR, you will forever hold a place in my heart.

- Logan H.

In honor of mental health awareness month, reppin BTR has me feeling extra special. Nick left behind such an empowering legacy and I am so lucky to be comforted by his everlasting presence.

- Gabriel D.

I’ve always been passionate about mental health but ever since I started working with @btrclothing, my perspective on life completely changed. Through BTR, I have not only made some amazing friendships, and met some amazing people, I’ve learned so much and grown as a person. I found a big love for raising awareness about mental health and suicide, even though I had never lost anyone, I knew people that had. That all changed this week when one of my childhood friends passed.

- Maya B.

I hope you know that this account(Instagram) and its sincerity has saved multiple lives. I have friends and colleagues that have mentioned how impactful you have been to the teenage community. thank you so much for what you do.

- Anonymous

I hope you know what an impact that you and your family continue to make on the lives of families impacted by mental health challenges. The current “system“, has been so limited and just doesn’t feel right to so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you for these alternatives and for your continued love and support of our kids.

- Carmel S.

i know you don’t know me but i graduated from arapahoe last year and have been very impacted by mental illness. i love what you guys have done with this and erasing the stigma. i wanted to share my tattoo that i got this weekend. there is a lot of symbolism behind it, mostly regarding mental health and life, which i’m happy to share if you want. but i wanted to share for the simple fact of the semicolons. i want to bring awareness and i know if it wasn’t for what you guys have done i wouldn’t have inked this on me forever. i can’t wait to have my kids ask me when i’m older what it means and to tell them that it’s why i’m there holding them. i’m sorry this is so all over the place i’m just very emotion filled right now. i just wanted to say thank you and show that you are impacting so many people in so many ways—beyond just clothing

- Natasha


Brought to Reality is currently run by the Bales family with the hopes to continue Nick’s dreams to erase the stigma on mental health. 100% of the company’s profits are used to support a variety of unconventional therapies including animal therapy and wilderness adventures. 


The Nick Bales/BTR Foundation consists of helping support teens suffering from mental health issues and aiding in the prevention of teen suicide. The Foundation takes a non-traditional approach because mental illness is not the same for everyone.