In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health problem, and in any given week, at least 500,000 Canadians are unable to work due to mental health issues, accounting for more than six billion dollars in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism every year.
In recognition of Canadian Mental Health Week (May 1-7, 2017), we are proud to acknowledge world-class speakers who are putting the spotlight on the importance of seeking help for mental illness, ending its stigma, and encouraging workplaces and campuses alike to foster a supportive environment for everyone.
Below are some of our acclaimed mental health speakers, and see more from our mental health roster here.
Kevin Breel’s TEDx Talk, “Confessions of a Depressed Comic”, has garnered more than four million views, making it one of the most watched TED talks ever on mental health and depression. In the four years since he delivered it, Kevin has been called one of the “Most Influential Millennials in the World” by Parade magazine, and he has become a national ambassador for Bell “Let’s Talk”. His honest and humorous take on his first-hand experience with depression, and his message of ending the stigma around mental illness once and for all, resonates with all of his audiences.
Former Attorney General | Bestselling Author of 28 Seconds
A night that began with a dinner to celebrate his twelfth wedding anniversary ended in a jail cell for Michael Bryant―the Harvard-educated lawyer, politician, and CEO―when he was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. Speaking publicly about his personal challenges, which include alcoholism and depression, Michael’s is a dramatic story of inspiration, survival, tough choices, and transformation.
Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired), Canadian Forces
In today’s modern workplace, mental health problems have become the leading cause of disability claims, accounting for 70% of workplace disability management costs in Canada. As a former post-traumatic stress disorder sufferer, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Stéphane Grenier knows the toll mental health issues can take on individuals firsthand. Grenier offers audiences pragmatic advice designed to foster workplaces that support an open, non-stigmatized approach to mental health.
Celebrated Comedian | Author
Jessica Holmes, a favourite on CBC TV’s Royal Canadian Air Farce, has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her hilarious and validating take on life’s challenges–including her personal struggle with depression–have audiences in stitches and launched her to the top of Canadian comedy.
Four-time Olympian Silken Laumann is one of Canada’s most inspirational leaders, a bestselling author, and a highly recognizable and beloved athlete. She’s also someone who grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness. This experience gave her the strength and resiliency that has shaped much of the course of her life. She shares her story with honesty to inspires everyone that they can not only overcome anything that life throws at them, but that they can live a life of passion, contribution, and meaning.
Former NHL Goaltender
No job in the world of sports is as intimidating, exhilarating, and as stress-ridden as that of an NHL hockey goaltender. Now imagine doing that job while suffering high anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression, and having your career nearly cut short by a skate slicing across your neck. Clint Malarchuk shares his extraordinary and heart-wrenching life story—which includes his long battle with alcoholism and almost ending his life by a gunshot to the head—in his relentless effort to help end the stigma of mental illness and to help others who may suffer as well.
Acclaimed Solo Musician | Founding Member of Great Big Sea
Séan McCann uses his music to help people find light in the darkness. Best known as a founding member of the massively successful Canadian band Great Big Sea, Séan’s twenty years with the ensemble came to a halt in 2013, when he realised that he needed to deal with both alcohol addiction and coming to terms with the sexual abuse he suffered as a young man. Since then, Séan has been using his words and music to bring healing into his life and the lives of others.
Happiness Expert | Bestselling Author of The Book of Awesome
Neil Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning blogger, and one of the most popular TED speakers in the world. A “pied piper of happiness”, he explains how his struggle with depression inspired him to create his blog, 1000 Awesome Things (and later a series of books on the theme), and study how people can elevate expectations of themselves to commit to the habit of creating happiness every day.
Former NHL Player | Author of Why I Didn’t Say Anything
Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career, but he is likely best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey League coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered while a teenager under his care. Since then, Sheldon has become an unofficial spokesperson for millions of abuse survivors around the world, speaking about the importance of hope for survivors, an end to the stigma surrounding sexual abuse, and his desire to see meaningful penalties given to perpetrators.
Dr. Shimi Kang
Award-Winning Harvard-Trained Physician | Bestselling Author | Global Social Entrepreneur
An award-winning medical doctor, researcher, and lecturer on human motivation, Dr. Shimi Kang offers the keys people of all ages need to succeed in the workplace, the classroom, and at home. With over fifteen years of clinical experience and extensive research in the science that lies behind motivation and wellness, Dr. Kang shows people how to cultivate the important 21st century skills needed to flourish both professionally and personally.
Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.