Mark Henick, a case manager from CMHA Toronto, earned the opportunity to share his story and views about suicide at the TEDxToronto Conference on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. TEDxToronto is an event where participants are selected to speak in front of an audience about a relevant issue and share ideas in hopes of drawing inspiration and eventually cause change. TED conferences allow participants and attendees from different backgrounds to learn from each other and gain inspiration through each other’s talks and presentations.
All the talks at the Toronto conference focused on the theme, “The Choices We Make.” Henick explored the stigma that surrounds suicide and the misconception that suicide is a choice similar to other choices we make regularly.
“When one takes that view, it tends to lead toward fault, blame, and further stigma,” said Henick. “Since suicide is very often linked with mental illness, or some other perception-limiting factors, it cannot really be a free choice.”
Henick also spoke about his personal experience in suicide attempts and his professional background as a mental health advocate.
Henick’s commentaries on mental illness and suicide have reached millions of readers in major and local newspapers across North America. Currently, he works as a case manager for the Transitional Youth Program at CMHA Toronto and serves on various committees relating to mental health. Henick is also a board member for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
TEDxToronto posts videos of its speakers online. Check the website to view Henick’s talk. The same day as the conference, Henick was also a guest on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning to speak about his life experience.