So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression and Resilience by Mark Henick

Available Now!

A vital and triumphant story of perseverance and recovery by one of Canada’s foremost advocates for mental health

When Mark Henick was a teenager in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, he was overwhelmed by depression and anxiety that led to a series of increasingly dangerous suicide attempts. One night, he climbed onto a bridge over an overpass and stood in the wind, clinging to a girder. Someone shouted, “Jump, you coward!” Another man, a stranger in a brown coat, talked to him quietly, calmly and with deep empathy. Just as Henick’s feet touched open air, the man in the brown coat encircled his chest and pulled him to safety. This near-death experience changed Henick’s life forever.

So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression and Resilience is Henick’s story about growing up in a broken home and the events that led to that fateful night on the bridge. It is a vivid and personal account of the mental health challenges he experienced in childhood and his subsequent journey toward healing and recovery.

“Beautifully written, heart-wrenching, and hopeful”
Rosie O’Donnell

“A candid, graceful, and courageous account that will offer a lifeline to others”
Kirkus Reviews

“A mesmerizing, heart-stopping must-read”
Jesse Close

“Compelling, beautifully written and inspiring”
James Martin, SJ

“Mark Henick gives us the gift of hope”
Michael Landsberg

“Courageously and gracefully written”
Bif Naked

“A ray of light and learning for all of us”
Marci Ien

“A triumph of authenticity”
Arlene Dickinson

“This book is just amazing… Mark’s book is brilliant!”
Tamron Hall

On sale now at major retailers worldwide! 

Mark Henick dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change. Now he regularly speaks to diverse audiences about mental health, mental illness, suicide, advocacy, recovery, and hope. Mark’s TEDx talk on suicide is among the most watched in the world.

His keynotes, panels, workshops, and media appearances aim to break the stigma that prevents people from speaking openly about their mental health. Mark believes that freedom is found in overcoming the barriers that stigma, disempowerment, and disconnection build. Mark has seen countless times, personally and professionally, that each and every person has the potential to unlock their most true and hopeful self regardless of how dark it may seem.

Book Mark Henick to tell his powerful story at your next event.


Informed by his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system, Mark Henick dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change.

Mark is the principal and CEO of Strategic Mental Health Solutions, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations and individuals to move strategically from basic mental health awareness toward meaningful, measurable action.

He has previously served as the youngest president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division in history, the youngest member of the board of directors for the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and a national spokesperson for the Faces of Mental Illness campaign. He has worked as a front line mental health counsellor, and the manager of a national workplace mental health training program. Prior to his present role, Mark oversaw the Fund Development and Marketing & Communications portfolios for the Canadian Mental Health Association as National Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Mark holds a Master of Science in child development, a Bachelor of Arts with interdisciplinary honours focusing on psychology and philosophy, and certificates in trauma counselling, suicide intervention, mental health first aid, and knowledge exchange.

Today, Mark is sought after public speaker and active media commentator on issues related to mental illness and mental health.

Mark has appeared in more than a hundred television segments, and countless more radio, print, and online features about mental health. His work has frequently appeared across Canada by media such as CTV National News, Entertainment Tonight, and The Globe and Mail; in the United States by CNN, the Chicago Tribune, and The New York Daily News; and in the UK by The Independent, The Daily Mail, and The Sun. He has also appeared around the world in, AsiaOne (Singapore), Trud (Bulgaria), The Epoch Times (China), Reader’s Digest, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post, among many others.

Mark’s TEDx talk, Why We Choose Suicide, is among the most watched in the world with over 6 million views. His story of searching for “the man in the light brown jacket” who saved his life from a teenage suicide attempt went viral around world. When Mark learned of products being sold on Amazon that promoted suicide, his successful online petition to have them removed garnered tens of thousands of signatures and again gained global media attention. The worldwide rights to Mark’s first book have been acquired by HarperCollins.

Mark brings a diverse and unique perspective of someone who has been a patient, a professional, and a policy influencer in the mental health system. He lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.

Become a part of the movement. Book Mark Henick to speak with your audience today!

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Mark Henick is available to speak and consult across Canada and the United States – and around the world – on mental health, mental illness, recovery, and suicide prevention for a variety of events and media. He frequently performs keynotes, workshops, and media appearances.

Mark’s speaking requests are managed by Speakers’ Spotlight. His literary agency is Seventh Avenue, his publisher is HarperCollins.

Let us know what you need, and the appropriate person will be in touch with you shortly.

What People are Saying

Mark Henick speaks to diverse audiences including conferences, schools, workplaces, and community groups. His videos, media appearances, and writing have been seen by millions. Here’s a small sample of what they’ve been saying.

“One of Canada’s most prominent mental health advocates” – PEOPLE Magazine

“I can’t put into words how beautiful this session has been. Thank you so much.” – Virtual keynote attendee

“Mark is a great speaker and outlined the issues easily and thoughtfully.” – Workshop participant

“Mark is an absolutely fantastic presenter!” – Workshop participant

“There was something about Mark Henick… that just would not let me forget the subject.” – Audience member

“I applaud Mark for speaking up for those of us who can’t.” – Keynote attendee

“Mark Henick is a powerful storyteller.”  – Rosie O’Donnell

“WOW, Mark your talk was incredible, thank you so much!” – Virtual keynote attendee

“Gave me a new outlook on mental health.” – Workshop participant

“Canada’s newest star in mental health awareness.” – Article reviewer

“Beautifully honest… gripped my soul and didn’t let go.” – Live audience member

“A brilliantly articulate man.” – Ameera Ladak

 “Mark’s book is brilliant!” – Tamron Hall

“With passion and grace, Mark is a formidable thinker in our culture today.” – Chris Summerville, CEO, Schizophrenia Society of Canada

“I am speechless! Mesmerized by your powerful, authentic words.” – Virtual keynote attendee

“The information was presented so well… I could have spent a whole week with Mark!” – Workshop participant

“Eloquent.” “Insightful.” “Powerful.” “Inspirational.” – Keynote attendee

“I really wish there were more people in this world like Mark, what he does is absolutely incredible… I found this to be one of the most inspiring lectures I’ve listened to.” – Jeff Martin

“Mark’s genuine concern for those dealing with a mental health challenge is only matched by his courage and commitment to sharing his story in the most powerful way imaginable. If your audience is ready to be confronted by this terrific young speaker, Mark will leave a lasting impression.” – Eric Windeler, Founder & Executive Director,

“A very powerful presentation, such a new fresh perspective on mental health.” – Keynote participant

“Incredible talk, far better, moving, and more impactful than I expected. Very inspiring and a reminder of the power of simple but meaningful connection with our patients and how it can impact them.” – Virtual keynote attendee

“Awesome presentation. I think the best I’ve heard in over 35 years of practice.” – Virtual keynote participant

“Excellent talk, thought provoking. Dynamic speaker.” – Keynote attendee

“Loved this presentation. All of the information has such practical application to my daily practice as I attempt to help each patient to the best of my ability.” – Keynote participant


Mark has spoken to thousands of people across diverse audiences on issues relating to mental wellness, workplace mental health, recovery from mental illness, suicide, parenting, grief, and empowerment. Here is a small sample of the types of audiences Mark has addressed.

Corporate audiences have included such companies as Bell Canada, Chrysler, Kellogg’s, Celestica, Pfizer, Janssen, Lundbeck, Gap Inc., Canada Post, Blue Cross, TD Bank, Scotiabank, Bruce Power, Thompson Publishing, and Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Education audiences have included: Rutgers University, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Western University, University of Calgary, University of Victoria, University of New Brunswick, University of Saskatchewan, St. Thomas University, Cape Breton University, Sheridan College, George Brown College, Humber College, Durham College, Algonquin College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board, Northern Lights District School Board.

Healthcare, nonprofit, government, and labour audiences have included Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, SickKids Hospital, Canadian Mental Health Association, Atlantic Psychiatric Association, YMCA, Homewood Health, the Privy Council of Canada, Government of Ontario, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, Vocational Rehabilitation Association, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, Human Resources Professionals Association, FACTOR, UNIFOR, CUPE, and United Steelworkers.

Become a part of the movement. Book Mark Henick to speak with your audience today!


Mark addresses issues relating to mental health for television, radio, print, and online media around the world.

He has been featured in or commented on hundreds of stories related to mental health. His appearances have included such media outlets as CNN, CNBC, USA Today, CTV National News, CTV News Channel, CTV W5, CanadaAM, CTV Your Morning, The Canadian Press, CP24, Newstalk, Virgin Radio, Business News Network, BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, The Mighty, Yahoo News, Entertainment Tonight, eTalk, PageSix, Perez Hilton, Bustle, CBC News, CBC Radio, Global News, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, the Globe and Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.

Mark is available to media for comment on a broad range of issues relating to mental illness and mental health.

Contact Mark Henick for comment today!