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#SickNotWeak: Michael Landsberg on community, authenticity and the hashtag war to end mental health stigma

Date and Location: Glenn Gould Studio | Monday, November 13th 11-11:30 am

Michael Landsberg, one of the best-known personalities in Canadian broadcasting and one of Canada’s leading advocates for mental health awareness, sits down with CBC media personality Matt Galloway on Social Media Week Toronto’s main stage to discuss his online movement, #SickNotWeak, and the transformative power of authenticity in social media.

In 2009, Landsberg began using the hashtag #SicknotWeak on Twitter to encourage discussion around mental health and create a forum for those needing help. The hashtag took on a life of it’s own, drawing celebrity sports figures and everyday people alike into the conversation, and ultimately morphed into a movement that gave a new tone and voice to the conversation around mental health in Canada.

In 2016, SickNotWeak was formally launched as an online community for people struggling with mental illness either personally or as a supporter. That same year, Facebook Canada partnered with Landsberg as part of their rollout of Facebook Live to help launch his #SickNotWeak video series. Landsberg is now a prolific video blogger. His #Landsblog videos, in which he talks candidly about mental illness to his growing legion of dedicated followers, have garnered hundreds of thousands of views and engagements across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Social media has been a key enabler and force in driving the fight against mental health stigma. Talking about depression, anxiety and suicide in an unconventional manner (often injected with large doses of dark humour), Michael credits the honesty, authenticity and relatability of his style for bringing new voices and audiences into the online conversation.

About Michael Landsberg

Michael Landsberg has been a prominent face and voice on the Canadian sports scene since 1984. With his unique style, he quickly became one of this country’s most polarizing personalities- perceived by some as forthright and others as arrogant.

In 2009 people began to agree more on Michael after he publicly shared his, then decade long, struggle with severe depression and anxiety. Since then, he has become one of this country’s loudest voices- pushing for all Canadians to see mental illness as a sickness, not a weakness. Michael frequently used his platform as producer and host of Off the Recordon TSN to change people’s opinion of mental illness.

Michael has been an official spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk Day since that initiative was launched. In 2015 Michael launched his own initiative, a not-for-profit, called SickNotWeak. SickNotWeak is dedicated to changing the way Canadians see mental illness. www.SickNotWeak.com gives a voice to celebrities and everyday folks to share their struggles and their views on mental health issues.

About Matt Galloway

Matt Galloway is the host of Metro Morning on CBC Radio One, 99.1 FM, the top rated morning radio program in Toronto. He is also the co-host of Podcast Playlist on CBC Radio One.

He has been working at CBC Radio for more than 10 years. He has also anchored CBC Radio’s coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics live from Beijing, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the 2014 Winter Olympics live from Sochi, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

For four consecutive years, he was voted Top Radio Personality in Toronto by the readers and editors of NOW Magazine. He was also named a Toronto Hero of 2011 by Torontoist, and a Mensch of the Year for 2011 by The Grid magazine.

In 2012, he was given the Excellence In Community Service Award for addressing issues confronting diverse communities by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, and in 2013, received the award for Diversity and Social Inclusion by the Tagore Anniversary Celebrations Committee of Toronto. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Toronto Life magazine named him one of Toronto’s 50 most influential people. In 2015, Matt received the African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Media.

Matt is a keen cyclist, burgeoning runner, voracious reader, proud Torontonian and messy cook. He currently lives in the west end of Toronto with his wife and their two daughters.

Find Matt on Twitter: @metromorning @mattgallowaycbc

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