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In the second #LifeMatters podcast, host Tony Chapman speaks with Mark Henick about his remarkable journey from the brink of suicide to a vocal advocate for mental health issues and awareness.

#LifeMatters, hosted by Tony Chapman, is a special 6-part series presented by RBC. In this podcast series, Tony speaks with Canadians who’ve faced overwhelming challenges, overcoming hardships and growing them into amazing opportunities. These true stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things might leave you inspired, opening up possibilities for your own life.

Mark Henick didn’t think his life mattered. His first suicide attempt was in Grade 8. He was in and out of psychiatric wards, hospitalized seven times as a teenager, dealing with a toxic family life and a consuming depression.

In 2002, in his home town of Sydney, Nova Scotia, he stood on an overpass railing, ready to take his life. As a crowd formed around him, one man yelled, “Jump, you coward!” Another man, wearing a light brown jacket, began talking to him calmly.

When Mark let go of the railing, the man in the light brown jacket reached an arm out and pulled him to safety. “Not only did he save my life in that moment,” Mark tells Tony. “I credit him for giving me my entire life.”

Choosing his Path

As Mark reflected on the two different strangers, he began to think about which of these men he wanted to be like. “I could be the one who chose to stand on the sidelines, or the one who chose to reach out to help another,” he says.

That night was the beginning of a long process of recovery and mental health advocacy. Mark decided to open up about his story, and wrote an op-ed in the Cape Breton Post about it. Over the next ten years, he has shared his story through hundreds of media outlets, appearing on television and radio, and in print and online features about mental health. His work has appeared across Canada, the U.S. and around the world. With over six million views, Mark’s TEDx talk, Why We Choose Suicide, is one of the most watched in the world .

And after more than ten years, Mark found the man in the light brown jacket, who also had chosen the path of helping others.

Because of the humanity, courage and action of a stranger, Mark gained a new chance at life — and dedicated it to helping others deal with depression, thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues. Throughout what he calls his “upward spiral,” he has held frontline, leadership and board positions in the mental health system.

Mark was able to rise out of the darkness to understand & believe his life matters — and has shared his story with others to help them see their lives matter too.

Listen to Mark Henick tell his inspiring story in this #LifeMatters podcast — and hear how he found a renewed purpose because the life-saving actions of a stranger.

For other stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, listen to the #LifeMatters Radio Show Friday’s at Noon on I Heart Radio and these stations:

  • Newstalk 1010, Toronto
  • CFRA 580 Ottawa
  • CJAD 800 Montreal
  • CJBK 1290 London
  • Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
  • CKLW 800 Windsor
  • CKFR 1150 Kelowna
    • Fridays at 1 p.m.
  • CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
    • Fridays at 8 p.m.
  • BNN Bloomberg, CFTE 1410 Vancouver

To listen Tony Chapman’s CHATTER THAT MATTERS Podcast, download Chatter that Matters on I HEART Radio, wherever you get your podcasts, or at: