WILLIAM MICHAEL BARBEE is an entrepreneur, mental health advocate and producer/writer/director of Beyond the Silence, a movie about how people with mental illness are often incarcerated instead of treated. The film is set to be screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Michael experienced abuse and other trauma throughout his childhood. When he was entering high school, his family was the victim of an arson fire that left him homeless for two years. He witnessed the deaths of close friends by street violence and was the target of a carjacking in college. These and other traumatic events left him struggling with severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
After surviving a suicide attempt at age 20, Michael received treatment and support that he credits for his recovery. Passionate about helping others with mental illness, he has written two books with mental health themes, and serves on the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties Board of Directors. In 2013 he was honored at the State of New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma.
Michael is President/CEO of Prestige Media Productions and United II Care Properties. He’s the founder/partner at Airmid Foundation and Airmid Counseling Services (which provides mental health and substance use services to inner-city communities). He also owns Prestige Tours, which helps transport people with mental illness. He makes a point of hiring employees within his companies who live with mental illness.