MATT BURTON has been a pioneer and entrepreneur from day one of his vocational life. However, the road to leading this revolutionary focus around evidence based trauma and loss recovery for men didn’t start in behavioral health. Surprisingly, it started in the media.
By the age of 19, Matt launched a ground breaking for-profit endeavor called Romeo Productions. This multimedia entertainment company quickly rose to become the largest of its kind in the state of Oregon by his 21st birthday. During the same time he was running his own company, Matt was also an on-air personality for Z100 Radio in Portland and KZMG, Magic 93.1 in Boise, Idaho.
Several years later, tired from the demands of the media and entertainment industry, Matt was ready to make a change. He began a new career in the Insurance and Healthcare Industry. Over the next several years, Matt worked for Regence BlueCross BlueShield and Denkor in roles focused on Marketing and Communication. During this same time, he earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Management from Concordia University.
Despite much early life success, Matt didn’t find that anything he had done to date fulfilled his more central passion; serving those who were hurting and overlooked. In a step of courage and faith, he walked away from financial security and, instead, Matt took a job in a group home for teenage boys. From there, he began to work with men that were in prison. Men who had only known trauma, loss, addiction and pain; men that were paying for the consequences of their actions. What became apparent to him is that most of the criminal behavior he was seeing seemed to stem from unresolved trauma and loss. With that knowledge, he became an advocate for men wishing to understand and heal from their wounds and the resulting addictions and acting out behavior. Matt was one of twelve men that, in the early 90’s, helped launch what is now a worldwide program to help men break free from pornography and related addictions.
Matt’s next project became a 10-year commitment to the Native American community. He founded Extraordinary Young People (EXYP); a non-profit focused on serving traumatized and hurting Native American young people and their families on Indian Reservations. As President and CEO, Matt grew EXYP into a multi-state organization that provided critical services in the areas of physical, emotional, spiritual health and recovery to thousands of Native American youth and their families. Because of this work, Matt was recognized by Concordia Universities Board of Regence and Board of Directors as an Alumni Ambassador exemplifying organizational & non-profit leadership success.
After 10 years of leading EXYP, Matt took a break from non-profits to lead projects focused on affordable housing. In his spare time, he did consulting for non-profits in the area of fund-raising and development. In 2011, Matt was drawn back into his true passion; helping the hurting and overlooked. He began the work that would fulfil a lifelong vision of creating an innovative, evidence based Trauma and Loss recovery and healing model that would link the healing of the symptoms of trauma and loss (such as addictions) with the healing of the root traumas themselves. He founded Helping Men Heal (HMH), a non-profit with a mission to help male trauma survivors heal and in 2014, founded Healthy Minds Group (HMG) as a for-profit social purpose corporation with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of those who keep our community safe. In 2017, HMG became an official LLC and broadened its product portfolio of services.
Matt’s greatest accomplishment – his strongest credential – is that of surviving a childhood of horrific trauma and loss. He always begins his public speaking engagements by saying “I’ve spent the last 22 years of my life recovering from the first 24.”
Many people have the educational credentials to do the work Matt has started, but few of them have worked through tremendous personal trauma and loss and are ready to share their experience with others. Matt combines his personal experiences and healing with his depth of business acumen within the behavioral health industry. He says regularly “This is the hardest, toughest, deepest work anyone will ever face. It’s not enough to have the clinical tools to help folks heal. People need someone to walk beside them that has both the education and the empathy to help them get through it.” According to Matt, “because we and others doing this work have lived it, we are dedicated to making sure that all within HMH and HMG take a trauma informed approach in every aspect this work.”