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Sheila  Hamilton

Sheila Hamilton

Five-Time Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, Mental Health Advocate & CEO Beyond Well Solutions

Sheila Hamilton

Five-Time Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, Mental Health Advocate & CEO Beyond Well Solutions


As a veteran reporter and TV news anchor and radio personality, Sheila Hamilton didn’t miss much. Observing others is what she is trained to do. And yet when it came to her own life, Hamilton didn’t see the signs as her husband David's mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she pieced together the puzzle, it was too late. Her once brilliant and passionate partner was dead within six weeks of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder — leaving his nine-year-old daughter and wife without so much as a note to explain his action, a plan to help them recover from their profound grief or a solution for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that they would inherit from him.

Understanding mental health and how we can prevent serious mental illness became Hamilton’s singular reporting passion. This five-time Emmy award-winning journalist and former host of Portland, Oregon's #1 radio program, Kink.fm., is now CEO of Beyond Well Solutions, which provides mental health programming for Fortune 500 companies interested in improving mental health and well-being. She is also the host of Spotify’s fastest-growing mental health program, “Beyond Well With Sheila Hamilton.”

Hamilton learned first-hand that economic security, a level of fame and health doesn't protect from the ravages of mental illness. She makes a passionate case for understanding the sometimes elusive signs and symptoms of mental illness, especially in high-functioning people, who tend to try to mask their illnesses. She speaks to the chaos and confusion of attempting to help someone who is in denial, and how families can best reach a person who insists they are "fine."

Hamilton has researched best mental health practices in the United States, Great Britain and Canada and is a passionate advocate for prevention, micro-habits that protect against brain illness and an authentic, open approach toward mental health and well-being in the workplace.

Hamilton's healing started when she began to adopt mindfulness practices in order to heal from the trauma of her husband's suicide. She urges corporate leaders to expand access to mental health treatment, to train managers how to spot a person in mental health distress, and to provide the kind of media programming and information that Beyond Well Solutions provides, so that people can understand the link between their symptoms and largely preventable mental illnesses.

Hamilton also urges survivors to end the cycle of suicide in families by fiercely advocating for the suffering. "We should demand an acknowledgment of brain illness as worthy of care, funding and research as heart disease, cancer and diabetes,” she says. “While every other measure of public health improves, this is the thirteenth year in a row that the suicide rate has increased."

Hamilton speaks to the hero's journey, the person who journeys through horrendous conditions in order to expand his or her consciousness. She urges us to overcome the shame and stigma of mental illness and to talk openly and humanly about it. It affects us all. Her hope is that another life as exquisite as her husband's might be saved, and the sensitive ones will not only survive but thrive.

A storyteller at heart, Hamilton’s resume runs through film, television, radio and print. As a television anchor and reporter, she covered some of the country's biggest stories, including the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the bombing of LDS Church officials by forger Mark Hofmann, the mass shooting at Thurston High in Springfield, Oregon and the national figure skating scandal inflicted by Olympic skater Tonya Harding. Hamilton recently ventured into reality television programming as a judge on Wanted, Adventure Woman. In 2013, Hamilton was voted Oregon's "Best Radio Personality." She serves on the boards of The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and the Flawless Foundation. In 2015, she was voted one of “Oregon's Mental Health Heroes."

Hamilton’s award-winning book, All the Things We Never Knew, chronicles her late husband’s descent into mental illness. She has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist, whose editors called ATTWNK a "must-read" in the category of mental health. She has hosted international mental health conferences and acted as a moderator/interview for dozens of mental health panels. Hamilton was the recipient of the Judy Cushing Life Award in 2018 and the Ron Schmidt Community Hero award in 2019.

Speaker Videos

Beyond Well

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness

There is Always Someone Listening

Creating an Open Discussion about Mental Health

On the Board for Foundation for Excellence

Insights Into Mental Illness: A Partner's Experience

Speech Topics

Building a Mental Health Toolbox

Since the pandemic began, workers and leaders have become more stressed out, anxious, burned out and totally disengaged at a higher rate than ever before. In fact, according to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 89% of respondents said they have experienced a decline in their workplace well-being. Add to that, employees are quitting their jobs at a record pace. In this new talk, Sheila Hamilton, award-winning journalist and CEO of Beyond Well Solutions, a business that helps companies create customized media programming to help individuals recognize the signs of depression, anxiety and other behavioral disorders, shares why the pandemic has forced mental health to become a workplace priority. “From the CEO to mid-level management to frontline employees — everyone is suffering,” Hamilton says. “As humans, we cannot continue to challenge our bodies and our minds this way. If you’re looking at this in terms of human capital, even the highest performers are reporting these stress levels, and it’s just not sustainable. So, supporting mental health as an employer is critical.” In addition to giving you the warning signs to look for when it comes to burnout, Hamilton shares individual tools and techniques for resilience and well-being, as well as micro-adjustments that organizations can make that lead to big changes.

Remarkable Resilience

Sheila Hamilton deftly weaves a story of loss and her late husband’s descent into mental illness with her quest to understand how we can all be more mentally resilient—working with a team of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists at her company. Beyond Well, Sheila provides more than 1.5 million people annually with free tools for managing mental health conditions.

Sheila is a five-time Emmy award-winning journalist and the author of All the Things We Never Knew, Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness. She is the national Public Relations Society of America award winner for public service and a champion for all people living with mental health challenges. Beyond Well Media provides managerial training for more than 100 U.S. companies that are interested in improving employee mental health.

Topics Covered:

  • Mental Health Warning Signs
  • Why We Resist Asking for Help During Mental Health Struggles
  • Learning Tools for Resilience: Mindfulness
  • Anchor Technique
  • Breathing and Awareness
  • Perspective Taking
  • Losing Perfectionism
  • What is Real Self Care

Mental Illness Does Not Discriminate

Sheila’s story of her family’s mental health crisis illustrates that mental illness doesn’t care about your bank account, your social status or the number of followers you have on Facebook. Sheila was at the height of a highly awarded and visible journalism career when her husband had his first psychotic break. How Sheila handled this very public persona at the time dealing with a highly sensitive private crisis is key, “It’s not them, it’s us.” Hamilton says, “Every one of us is on a mental health continuum, and with enough trauma, lack of sleep, toxic stress and the genetic underpinnings of brain illness, we can all suffer mental illness. We can also recover. That’s what is missing in the conversation.”   

Why Trauma Informed Care Works

System wide efforts to become trauma informed will improve health outcomes and reduce the long term costs of unaddressed traumatic experiences. The most common causes of trauma are parental abandonment, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, a serious accident, natural disaster or acts of war. With multiple experiences, the risk increases for anxiety, depression, alcoholism, suicide attempt, major diseases and disassociation. Ten years after the Adverse Childhood Experiences study linked trauma to risk factors for leading causes of adult mortality, new research links childhood trauma to higher rates of mental health problems and obesity in children.

Problem: David’s care (and the care of most other patients in the last decade) has been lacking, impersonal and driven by a pharmaceutical approach to healing a crisis of mind, body and spirit.

Solution: Oregon’s Unity Project: a model for the nation, with four healthcare systems coming together to provide patient centered behavioral and psychiatric care. Medication is seen as a screwdriver, not a jackhammer, the patient is part of the recovery process, and therapists reach to find coping methods that might work for the participant’s individual history of trauma.

Resilience: How Crisis Taught Us to Love, Laugh & Live Harder Than Before

In every moment, we are choosing: lightness or dark, truth or lies, vulnerability or detachment. Our family’s mental health crisis forced me to ask if I’d been living with as much openness, and as much vulnerability as I should have. When David’s body was found, I realized I had one choice: recede into the shame and stigma he suffered from, or choose honesty, openness and truth. I chose the latter and it has reframed the entire way I view life. As humans, we are charged with helping one another through the worst periods of our lives. Asking for help offers the antitode to shame and stigma because it allows others to respond with empathy, with love and compassion.  Let people show how good they can be. Ask for help.