NSB Logo

Mark Henick

Mental Health Advocate

Informed by his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system as an adolescent, Mark dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change. He has served as the youngest President of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division in history. He is currently the youngest-ever board member for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Mark has authored commentaries on issues relating to mental health for major newspapers across Canada and the U.S. He continues to use his personal experience to provide insight into mental illness, and his TEDx Talk is the highest viewed of the 2013 Toronto conference- approaching almost 3 million views!

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentations

Getting to Know Thyself: Being an everyday advocate for mental health
If you have a brain, you have mental health. And, like with the rest of the body, sometimes even otherwise good mental health gets interrupted. With about 20% of people experiencing a mental health problem or illness at any given time, it is shocking to learn that so few seek help and receive treatment. A major barrier is the attitude that we have toward mental health. Mark uses his own experience, both as a patient and as a professional, to provide insight. He collapses the difference that we construct between ourselves and those who happen to experience mental health problems and illnesses by demonstrating how common these experiences are. He argues passionately in favour of embracing our vulnerability, tuning in to our psychological needs, and living everyday as an advocate for mental health.

Why We Choose Suicide
A leading cause of death among new mothers in the first year after childbirth is suicide. First nations communities are being ravaged by a suicide rate five to six times higher than the national average. Almost a quarter of 15 to 25 year olds who die at all, die by suicide. That is not acceptable. That is the message that Mark delivers in this deeply personal talk.  Mark explores the complicated relationship between suicide and choice. He breaks down the experience from an insider’s view – his own. He then analyses it from the perspectives of biology, psychology, and society. Mark argues for more compassion and greater attention toward the public health concern that is suicide.

The Business Case for Better Mental Health
More than 6.7 million people in Canada are living with a mental health problem or illness. The economic cost of these problems and illnesses is at least $50 billion per year, representing approximately 30% of disability claims. If we could reduce this by 10%, after ten years we could save an estimated $4 billion annually in health and social care costs. Tailored for the corporate context, Mark shares the most current data on mental health and the workplace from the leading sources in the field. He explores and advocates for emerging and promising practices directed toward improving workplace mental health, thereby improving both quality of life and the bottom line.

Mental Health: Awareness at Work
In this 45 minute keynote, Mark shares an insider’s view that is rooted in his personal experience with mental illness, as well as his professional experience managing a national workplace mental health training program. He addresses the newest research, most interesting trends, and most promising practices in workplace mental health. A deeply personal keynote, audiences of all industrieswill leave with the realization that workplace mental health is more than a compassionate cause – it’s good business.

 

Platform Plus

Workshop | Mental Health: Awareness Workshop for All

This half day (3 hour) workshop introduces participants to a new way of thinking about mental health and mental illness. It begins with what most people already know about health and mental health, and then intuitively reframes it into a more evidence-based and solutions-focused approach. It helps participants in diverse workplace settings, virtually any employee, to begin to build a better understanding of their own mental health, as well as that of those around them. Some common mental health problems are discussed along with a few strategies and suggestions for how to help. This workshop can also be offered in a full day format with greater detail.

Workshop | Mental Health: Awareness Workshop for People Leaders

This full day (6 hour) workshop builds on the topics of awareness and intervention discussed in the half-day session. The information is presented in a manner that is relevant to people leaders such as executive leadership, managers, supervisors, HR professionals, and union representatives. A mental health lens is applied to issues such as accommodation, return to work, and organizational culture change. Practical tools are provided to better inform the management of mental health at work.

Panelist/In Conversation

Awards

2010
Consumer Leadership Award | CMHA Fredericton

2000
Community Outreach Award, St. Thomas University Students Union


  • Mark's genuine concern for those dealing with a mental health challenge is only matched by his courage and commitment to sharing his story in the most powerful way imaginable. The combination is disruptive, engaging and clearly obvious to the listener. If your audience is ready to be confronted by this terrific young speaker, Mark will leave a lasting impression.

    - Founder & Executive Director, The Jack Project
  • Mark's talk went really well! It was very moving and we had great feedback from people both in the audience and afterwards. It was really great that he encourages people to tweet questions at him, because a lot of people weren't comfortable going up and asking questions, but we had lots of Twitter questions.




    - University of New Brunswick Student Union
  • I really wish there were more people in this world like Mark, what he does is absolutely incredible… I found this to be one of the most inspiring lectures I've listened to.

    - Jeff Martin
  • Mark Henick is a superb story teller. With passion and grace he is a formidable thinker in our culture today. I highly recommend him as a speaker.

    - CEO, Schizophrenia Society of Canada
  • Henick sounds like someone who could be Canada's newest star in mental health awareness.


    - Steve, TSOW

Summary Profile

Informed by his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system as an adolescent, Mark dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change. He has served as the youngest President of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division in history.

He is currently the youngest-ever board member for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Mark Henick was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder following his first suicide attempt in the eighth grade, it was not long before Mark discovered the profound opportunity for advocacy through recovery.

As a high school student, he wanted to speak with his peers about the challenges of living with mental illness, including a history of multiple suicide attempts and hospitalizations. He was promptly denied. Mark’s response was his first formal entry into mental health advocacy. It came in the form of a letter to the local newspaper, critical of the systemic stigma which prevented people from speaking openly about their experiences with mental illness.

The next morning a television news crew visited the high school, and a passionate advocate for mental health was born. While studying in New Brunswick, Mark organized and presented four annual, university-wide lectures on his experience with the mental health care system. Over this time he also served on the board of directors for the provincial division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and he organized awareness raising events such as campus mental health weeks, a full production by Ballet Jorgen Canada, and a variety show. In his final year of university, Mark was elected to serve as the youngest president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division. 

Over this time he also served on the board of directors for the provincial division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and he organized awareness raising events such as campus mental health weeks, a full production by Ballet Jorgen Canada, and a variety show. In his final year of university, Mark was elected to serve as the youngest president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division. In this capacity he also served as the youngest member of the CMHA National board of directors.

As president of CMHA New Brunswick, Mark worked on a committee of the provincial government to develop the first province-wide mental health strategy. Mark was selected to serve as the youngest member of the board of directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada (and still serves as a board member). In this role, he has been involved with the board-level oversight of such landmark national projects as the first-ever national mental health strategy for Canada, and the largest housing-first research project in North America. Mark spoke at TEDxToronto 2013, becoming one of the most discussed speakers at the conference. Mark is currently the Program Manager for Mental Health Works, a social enterprise of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

RT @WomensHealthMag: Depressed or anxious? Tell us about it for an upcoming story. https://t.co/JHhMCG11Kl (2017-02-24 03:21:26)
RT @MHCC_: Fantastic news for @TheRoyalMHC - $6 million anonymous donation to fund #mentalhealth research! https://t.co/AmMl7OEkAy (2017-02-24 03:20:44)
I was invited into someone else's office to discuss a service I'm contracting out. I've been waiting 20 mins past meeting time. Leave or no? (2017-02-24 03:18:47)