I'm going to be in Peru for the next week and I'm not sure about the kind of WiFi access I'll have down there so I likely won't be able to communicate much until I get back.
In the meantime, he is a brief piece I wrote about a remarkable TEDX video from two years ago.
“I was barely a teenager the first time I tried to kill myself. If I knew then what I know now, no, it probably wouldn’t have changed very much. And it probably wouldn’t have changed very much because sometimes it doesn’t matter what you know. What you feel takes over.”
It is with these simple words that Mark Henick began the talk he gave at the Fifth Annual TEDX conference held in September 2013 at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. The talk, titled “Why We Choose Suicide” has had more than a million and a half page views since first being posted on YouTube and, listening to the 27-year-old Cape Breton native as he describes his battles with his own inner demons, it’s not hard to see why. Now living in Toronto with his family, Mark Henrick works for the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and is also on the board of Canada’s Mental Health Commission. When not working with suicidal clients, he spends much of his time speaking professionally about mental health issues through the National Speakers Bureau.
In describing his own suicide attempt as a teenager, he credits his survival to the intervention of a total stranger who talked him down from the overpass in his native town of Sydney, Nova Scotia as he was preparing to jump . "I was alone,” Henrick said. “ I had planned this out already, I knew what I was going to do, and I had the emotional vulnerability at that time and [was] upset enough to actually try to follow through with it.” Though an emergency crew was on the scene and a crowd had gathered (including one person who told him to jump), it was the stranger who grabbed him once Mark let go of the railing. “That was really the moment that I realized that I could be that person,” he said. “ I could reach out and help people ... so that's what I do now."
Judging from the comments to his video, many of them from people dealing with their own suicidal feelings, Mark Henrick’s mission is far from over. And he is well aware of that.
To see the video, use the link below.