Break Down. Wake Up. podcast – 008 – Embodying a Message for the Community with Matt Ball


How his own madness inspired a psychiatric nurse practitioner to cultivate human connection, community and meaning in the mental healthcare system.

When he was just thirteen years old, Matt Ball saw a terrifying and unusual scene that called him to protect his community. This and other experiences were diagnosed as psychotic. Years later, as an award winning psychiatric nurse practitioner, he would make the connection between the voices he heard and visions he saw and a collective atrocity that he as a child was also subject to. He discovered that within his altered states of consciousness were important messages not only for him, but for society. In this episode, we explore the life-changing role that listening has in transforming difficult experiences, the importance of patience and discovery in our own meaning making processes, and the necessity to look at cultural, historical and contextual elements when trying to understand someone’s distress. You can find out more about Matt by visiting If you like what you’ve heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at

The Break Down. Wake Up. Season 1 podcast is sponsored by JAEC Foundation: Rethinking Mental Health.