Mark Henick

Mark Henick

Mental Health Advocate and Strategist | Top 50 TEDx Speaker

Having been viewed and shared millions of times, Mark Henick’s TEDx talk, “Why We Choose Suicide,” is among the most watched in the world. He has dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change when it comes to mental health. His talks are informed by his direct experience and explore his diverse and unique perspective as someone who has been a patient, professional, policy influencer, and public figure in the mental health system.

Over the last 20 years, Henick has appeared in hundreds of television, radio, print, and online features about mental health. His bylines include CNN, CNBC, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, and many others. People magazine called Henick “one of Canada’s most prominent mental health advocates”.

Henick released his first book, So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression, and Resilience, in 2021. Television host Rosie O’Donnell said, “So-Called Normal is beautifully written, heart-wrenching, and hopeful.” Kirkus Reviews described it as “[A]n elegantly written memoir that discovers hope in the darkest of moments.” Henick is also the host and executive producer of two podcasts, So-Called Normal and Living Well, where he has spoken with hundreds of experts, celebrities, and public figures about mental health.

Previously, Henick served as the youngest ever board director for the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the youngest ever president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) division. He has worked as a frontline clinician, program manager, and as National Director of Strategic Initiatives for CMHA. Presently, Henick runs a boutique mental health media consulting firm and is a high-demand international keynote speaker on recovery, resilience, and connection.

Henick holds a Master of Science in child development and a Bachelor of Arts with honours in the interdisciplinary study of psychology and philosophy. He is currently completing graduate certificates in applied neuroscience at King’s College London and cognitive psychology at the University of Cambridge.

A Moment on the Edge: How Small Encounters Change Lives

By the time he found himself standing on the edge of a bridge late one night, a teenager ready to die, Mark Henick had lost all hope. A culmination of encounters over time — with doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, parents, and peers — had left him feeling trapped, broken, and helpless. If it wasn’t for an anonymous stranger who reached out and saved his life, Henick never would have left that bridge alive. But he did, and he has dedicated his life ever since to opening minds and creating change.

In this, his most personal and most popular talk, Henick shares the stories of what brought him to the edge, what would have helped, and what didn’t. He retells the moment that changed his life forever, as well as the quest that followed to find the stranger who saved him — and to find himself.

Inspired by his viral Top 50 TEDx talk “Why We Choose Suicide”, and updated with what happened next — his journey that captured global media attention to find “the man in the light brown jacket” who saved his life — Henick explores the power of connection, even in brief moments, to change our paths forever. This raw, emotional, and at turns unexpectedly funny story of survival and grit culminates in an inspirational message that motivates audiences to get off the sidelines and to be the stranger who reaches out, even if only for a moment.

Prioritizing Mental Health in Challenging Times

Internationally recognized mental health advocate Mark Henick shares insight and practical strategies to help prioritize and look after your mental health in the exceptional circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our work and home lives were completely upended and surrounded with a constant haze of stress and anxiety. Through this presentation, Henick creates an open dialogue on managing mental well-being and self-care during a difficult time, and helps audiences learn how to prioritize their mental health.

Topics covered include maintaining routines and structuring your day, healthy sleep and diet, managing anxiety, combating loneliness, staying connected, and more.

The New Basics of Mental Health

One in five people will directly experience a mental health problem or illness each year. By middle age, a full half of the population will have experienced at least one of these challenges, and the large majority of them report that they can trace the onset to their youth.

What are these mental health problems and illnesses that so many people are facing? Why are people waiting so long to get help? How do people recover and go on to find meaning and purpose? These are just some of the questions that Mark Henick addresses in his progressive, inclusive approach to understanding mental health.

Informed by his interdisciplinary education, and his professional training and experience working with multidisciplinary teams, Henick gives audiences a better understanding of the basics of an integrated, biopsychosocial model of mental health. He goes beyond the simplistic “chemical imbalance” theory, and challenges participants to think about how their brains, thoughts, and environments all interact with one another in the real world. Henick leaves audiences with some practical takeaways for how changing any one of those components can trigger a chain reaction toward either problems and illnesses or recovery and growth.

The Mentally Healthy Campus

The onset of 70% of all mental health problems and illnesses occurs before or during young adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences, socioeconomic factors, bullying, and genetics are just some of the things that contribute to these struggles. With college and university campus populations being mostly made up of young adults, how we recognize and support both students and faculty who may be dealing with these issues is vital to the health of the whole community.

In his campus-tailored talk, Mark Henick draws upon his education and professional training in child development and mental health, his years as a student leader, and his personal experiences as a young person in the mental health system. Henick brings these experiences together to help audiences, both on-campus and those doing work related to them, to grow their awareness and understanding of this critical period of transition and growth. Henick then goes beyond only awareness, toward real, measurable action, by providing strategies for how to build and support a mentally healthy campus culture.

The Mentally Healthy Workplace

Whatever your job, ignoring the mental health of your workplace is bad for business.

Most people spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else. However, two thirds of employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace. In any given week, hundreds of thousands of employees are off work due to a mental health problem or illness, with depression alone being the single largest contributor to years lived with disability. Yet, only about a quarter of people would feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental illness.

However, evidence from around the world is growing and convincing: promotion, prevention, and early intervention initiatives for workplace mental health show positive returns on investment.

So how do we create, turn around, or further improve the mental health and safety of our workplace? What are the most current best and promising practices for supporting employee health and productivity? Where do you start, how do you take it to the next level, and what resources, tools, and training are available to help?

To answer these questions and more, Mark Henick draws upon his years of personal and professional experience in mental health, including managing a national workplace mental health training program and running a corporate mental health strategy consulting firm. He helps employers, employees, unions, and professional associations to clarify their needs, in a manner tailored to their role in their specific workplace.

In this presentation — offered as a keynote or expanded as a half-day or full-day interactive workshop — Henick helps audiences to better understand what works and what doesn’t in supporting employee mental health. He provides insights on implementing effective workplace mental health strategies, and calls on every employee at every level to play an active role.

Henick brings his personal passion for mental health to every presentation because he firmly believes that supporting the mental health of your workforce is more than a smart business decision.

It’s the right thing to do.