TSN’s Michael Landsberg posed with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta’s Program Director Wendy Bonertz and Executive Director Rubyann Rice during the Society’s fundraising campaign kickoff. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

TSN’s Michael Landsberg posed with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta’s Program Director Wendy Bonertz and Executive Director Rubyann Rice during the Society’s fundraising campaign kickoff. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

WATCH: TSN’s Michael Landsberg speaks in Lacombe about mental illness

Landsberg lends his voice to the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta

Sick, not weak.

That is message that former TSN host of Off the Record Michael Landsberg has been spreading across the country in order to help reduce the stigma around mental illness.

Landsberg, who has been very open about his battle with depression and has been a spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk Day, was at the Lacombe Memorial Centre speaking at the event See Me, Not my Illness, put on by the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta.

Landsberg said being able to speak at events to help reduce the stigma of mental illness has been the most important thing he has done in his live, outside of raising his two children.

“Tonight I will speak to a few hundred people and there will be somebody that hears this message that will really benefit from it — maybe there will be 50 people, maybe 100, but at least one” he said. “I do it because the stigma is still alive and well. It is still debilitating and it is still keeping people in the closet, I am hear to open the closet door.”

Speaking about mental illness with your friends, family and coworkers is one of the most important things we can do in our society to help people, according to Landsberg, and he said it is important that we do more than just pay lip service to the cause.

“When you talk about mental illness, you desensitize people. When you talk about suicide — you start to make it easier for someone to say something if they are in crisis,” he said.

Landsberg added that 4,000 people take their own lives every year in this country, with 25 people attempting suicide for every one of those that do.

“You are talking about 100,000 people and that is before you count people that think about it but don’t talk about it,” he said.

Landsberg said numbers mean we need to be speaking about this in every one of our circles.

“Tonight I will ask the question: How many of you have been touched by mental illness either personally or people you care about? Every person will put up there hand just like last week when I was in a different town. If everyone has been touched by it somehow, we should be talking about it,” he said.

Landsberg hopes that people who hear his message are able to take with them some of his confidence in order to talk about it.

“I want people to think, ‘I heard Landsberg speaking about it and he wasn’t ashamed, he wasn’t embarrassed and he sure as hell wasn’t weak — so maybe I can speak about it. That is what I want them to take away from it,” he said.

For the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, raising awareness is key for the people living with Schizophrenia in Alberta.

“Raising awareness about schizophrenia and mental illness in general is really important because 96 per cent of people say they feel discriminated against,” Rubyann Rice, executive director, said.

She added that discrimination comes from many places including the community, people’s families and their employers. To alleviate that, the Society is hoping to raise $150,000 in their province-wide campaign which goes until Dec. 31st.

“The money goes to a peer programs for people living with schizophrenia and also their families. We also employ over 200 people across the province who live with schizophrenia,” Rice said. “I hope everyone can have some compassion for those living with schizophrenia”

Landsberg added he hopes people can understand one thing.

“Sick, not weak. If you look at mental illness as a sickness and not a weakness, everything changes,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read