David Woods Bartley

Speaker | Trainer | Writer | Advocate

A dynamic speaker, storyteller, and trainer who opens minds, touches hearts, and inspires others to action by sharing his
journey from mental “hellness” to mental wellness.

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"David speaks from experience and he speaks from the heart, with a storyteller's craft that engages and moves audiences from a variety of ages and world views. His efforts are a positive force for mental health." 

-Pillar Padilla, Teacher
Rocklin High School

Mental Health Wrapped in an Animal Tale

David believes the subject of mental illness, and the hope for mental health, is more approachable, colorful and relatable when wrapped in an animal tale.

The stories used are personal, taken from David’s 20 years of work in animal care and rescue. A period which includes 11 years running a nationally recognized animal sanctuary.

David weaves in accounts of the life and times of many of the animals he cared for in all his presentations. By using the narrative of his story, David works to tear down stigma, raise awareness of the crisis we now face, educate people about what mental illness is and what it isn’t, and give hope to those who suffer and the people in their lives.

Through speaking engagements, workshops, and trainings, David provides education, tools, and resources to help people move from mental “hellness” to mental wellness, and experience their very own sanctuary.


The story of Joshua is just one of the animal stories David uses to make the topic of mental illness more approachable for audiences.

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Joshua's story is shared to reveal the truth that the most direct path to understanding is by way of curiosity. By asking questions, we learn the hidden, yet often understandable reasons behind another’s actions. In Joshua’s case, why his guardian of 15 years made up a story; that he found Joshua as a stray, instead of the truth he had no other option but surrender his best friend because his own terminal illness was forcing him into a hospice facility that didn’t allow dogs.

 

Connection Saves Lives

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“From the beginning, it was clear you truly cared about every person in attendance, and your inclusive speaking style immediately grabbed our interest and attention. You invited us to look at mental illness and recov (29).png
“From the beginning, it was clear you truly cared about every person in attendance, and your inclusive speaking style immediately grabbed our interest and attention. You invited us to look at mental illness and recov (28).png

Featured Clients:

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“I have seen David speak several times, and each time I have been amazed. Articulate, fearless and passionate, his stories inspire listeners with hope for true mental wellness. I highly recommend David to anyone seeking to encourage and equip people to tackle our nation’s mental health crisis.”
— Dr. Daniel Binus, MD, MPH, Psychiatrist
“It is apparent from the reactions of sworn staff, ranging from Chiefs down to first line responders, from law enforcement chaplains to mental health professionals, David truly embraces speaking for those who have been silenced by mental illness. He connects with people in a way that is undeniable.”
— Deputy Allie Murphy, Crisis Intervention Training Coordinator, Critical Incident Negotiations Team member, Sacramento County Sherriff’s Department
“After I listened to David speak I was changed for the better, and my vison and mission were clearer. David put into words what I had always been thinking, but had been unable to verbalize or fully visualize myself. Thank you, David, I have been transformed!”
— Frank Fawcett, Lead Case Manager, Volunteers of America--Veterans Services