He’s on a Mission To Show Others: You Are Not Alone


With the help of counseling, Bryan Buettemeyer worked through a mental health crisis and emerged stronger on the other side.

This article contains mention of suicide, which may be upsetting to some readers.

“My parents lived next to the Supercenter across the street from the Home Office,” Bryan Buettemeyer recalls. So when he started working at Walmart when he was 16, his commute was pretty easy. “I would literally jump over our fence and walk to work.” Nowadays, Bryan drives to his job at Walmart’s Home Office, where he enjoys his role in Demand Forecasting.

During many of the 20 years he’s been growing his career, Bryan has been on a deeply challenging path in his personal life. Not too long ago, he was at an emotional rock bottom. “I felt broken and alone — like I needed to be fixed,” Bryan says.

Help in the form of counseling has given Bryan and his family a new perspective on life. He’s eager to share his story and help others who are struggling with their mental health.

Stress from all sides

For Bryan, it was a series of stressful and tragic events that gradually increased his suffering: His mother passing away from cancer, the demanding though beautiful process of adopting a child from a different state, and his primary father figure, his stepfather, going to prison took its toll.

Bryan turned to Walmart’s mental health resources for help. Thanks to our free counseling benefit, he started speaking with a counselor about the difficult events.

Then, in August 2021, Bryan’s brother-in-law took his own life. “Our kids didn't know what suicide was,” Bryan shared. “The thought of explaining it to them was so dark and difficult.” And in January 2022, Bryan and his family cut ties with his stepdad for good.

Bryan’s suffering reached a new depth. “I felt like the walls were closing in,” Bryan shares.

His counselor and doctor agreed: Bryan needed time away from work to process everything he was going through in a healthy way.

Space to heal

During his two-month leave of absence, Bryan worked with his counselor to reframe past events so he could see things in a different light. He became more self-aware. He learned tools to help him better cope.

“Counseling was the biggest help for me. We focused on how I perceive myself, the things that make me tick and what makes me anxious,” he says. “I really started to understand myself.”

His counselor helped Bryan conquer both anxiety and self-doubt. “Before, I felt like my confidence had been sucked away,” he shares. “But counseling helped me rebuild my confidence and strip away a lot of the anxiety.”

Are you struggling with your emotional well-being? You are not alone. Walmart can help.

Emerging from the storm

Bryan worked hard to move from feeling “broken and alone” to feeling “self-aware, thankful, confident and motivated.”

“I feel fantastic — better than I have in years,” he says with a smile. “Counseling helped me build character and strengthen myself.”

Throughout Bryan’s difficult journey, his friends at work supported him. “The support that I got from Walmart was phenomenal — absolutely fantastic,” Bryan notes.

A powerful reminder

Bryan wanted a tangible way to help others know that they aren’t alone when facing theirs, so he paid for hundreds of blue wristbands with a heartfelt message: printed on one side is “Not Alone,” and on the other, “Together in the Storm.” He and his family members wear them and give them away to people as a reminder that we’re all in this together.

“I wanted to share my story to let people know that they’re not alone, and to stress the value I got from counseling, to help destigmatize it,” Bryan says.

One of the most meaningful lessons? “What we resist persists.” Bryan explains, it means that if you procrastinate and don’t face your issues, you’ll prolong your pain.

“My family and I have lived a lot of life together in these last few years,” Bryan says. He and his wife, Jenna, have four kids ranging in age from 5 to 13. “I'm very passionate about my family,” Bryan says. “It’s where I find my purpose and worth.”

Bryan’s mental health journey brought his family closer together. “I conquered a lot of demons, and my family is stronger because of it,” he says. “It’s given me perspective about what’s important and what’s not.”

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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