“Speak to Me” Landsberg talks bring mental health issues to light

Via Peters

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With the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of speaking openly about mental health, the Middlesex County Library partnered with the #SickNotWeak Foundation and held a set of talks Feb. 1-2 featuring broadcaster Michael Landsberg to tackle the stigma of discussing mental health issues.

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“The pandemic has made mental health a much bigger issue than it was even before the pandemic, and back then I would have thought it was one of the most important issues on the table,” said Landsberg. “The pandemic has forced so many people into bad positions that you need to be aware of it.”

The online talks, called “Speak to Me: 3 Words Every Teen Needs to Hear and Every Parent Needs to Say,” saw Landsberg accompanied by Grade 11 student Kyra Leddy of Clinton, Life’s a Wreck podcast host Kyle Moore, comedian Sean Cullen, and Hometown Hockey and Top of Her Game host Tara Slone as they openly discussed their own mental health journeys.

The first of the talks on Feb. 1 focused on speaking with high school students, while the Feb. 2 talk brought parents and guardians into the conversation and provided insight on how to approach mental health topics with their children.

“Do not assume that it can’t be in your home,” said Landsberg during the Feb. 2 talk. “Do not assume, because you love your kids and because you’re a great parent. Don’t assume that you won’t be touched by it.”

Throughout the discussion, the featured guests spoke about the highs and lows of their mental health experiences with depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and how younger people can hide their personal struggles from others, and how parents and guardians may not be aware of what their children are facing.

“They never really talked about mental health,” said Moore of his parents. “They never showed conflict in front of me. I think what would have helped me the most is knowing that my parents are human. Knowing that my parents are just like me. That they struggle as well, that they have days where they feel like not getting out of bed.”

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“If you let them know that you like are them, that you are human, and you experience all these emotions and you show them that in a healthy way, that’s the crème de la crème right there,” he continued. “I think that would have been a huge thing for me.”

Leddy also spoke about her feelings about mental health and how it’s important for parents and guardians to be the first ones to approach the subject with their children to make them feel comfortable about speaking openly.

“The last thing a kid wants to feel is that they’re going to be misunderstood once they open up about something that’s so challenging,” said Leddy. “Sharing your experiences, or people that are close to you and their experiences, helps normalize that people they know also go through the same thing because it seems so distant sometimes when we don’t know anybody who has gone through a similar experience.”

Though Landsberg criticized the province’s system for treating mental health, he pointed to several resources which can be accessed by those struggling such as Kids Help Phone and Reach Out 24/7.

Kids Help Phone can be reached by calling 1-800-668-6868, texting 686868 (youth) or 741741 (adults), or by visiting kidshelpphone.ca.

Those looking to contact Reach Out 24/7 can call or text 519-433-2023, toll-free at 1-866-933-2023, or web chat at reachout247.ca

For more information on #SickNotWeak, visit sicknotweak.com.


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