A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.
A veteran broadcaster and former host of TSN’s Off The Record, Michael Landsberg is as brash, witty, and smart as you’d expect—but that’s not all. He’s also one of the country’s most staunch and vocal mental health advocates. After publicly talking about his own struggle with depression for decades, Landsberg founded #SickNotWeak: a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating stigma and building community. In talks, he shows us that the road to healing begins with non-judgemental conversation.
The phrase “off the record” connotes a hushed conversation, but TSN’s popular talk show of the same name was anything but secretive. Hosted by Michael Landsberg, the 18-season series was full of personality, humor, debate, sports commentary, pop culture, and big name personalities. On stage, Landsberg was a candid and funny host who didn’t shy away from taboos. He spoke openly about his personal battle with depression, and considered breaking the stigma around mental illness his most important calling. Today, Landsberg is an ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, an initiative raising awareness about mental health, and the founder of #SickNotWeak, a nonprofit that reframes mental illness as a health issue, rather than a character flaw. The organization serves as both a resource and community for people living with mental illness, and those who wish to support their loved ones. “I want people who suffer from depression to feel motivated to share and to get help. And I want people who don’t suffer, but who will be touched by depression, to look at this as an illness and not a weakness and to create an environment where more people can share and not feel like they are being judged,” Landsberg explains. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Landsberg has extended his efforts with #SickNotWeak to create Isolation Nation: a digital program dedicated to mitigating the dangerous effects of social isolation on mental health.
In his documentary Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports, and Me, Landsberg opened up about his own struggles with depression, as well as interviewing famous guests about their own battles. Olympian Clara Hughes, two-time Stanley Cup champion Stéphane Richer, and four-time World Series winner Darryl Strawberry all appeared in the film. Darkness and Hope was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, and Landsberg was personally honored with the organization’s Humanitarian Award. The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health also named Landsberg one of its Champions of Mental Health.
One of the best-known personalities in Canadian broadcasting, Landsberg has been with TSN since the network’s inception. He hosted Off the Record from its debut in 1997 to its finale in 2015 and is currently the co-host of TSN’s First Up. Twice nominated for the Gemini Award for Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast, Landsberg was the Whistler Host for Olympic Daytime on CTV during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, he anchored TSN’s Olympic Daytime.
Michael Landsberg was the charismatic and outspoken host of TSN’s Off the Record—and from watching his show, you’d never guess that he’s been battling mental illness and depression for most of his life. Lifting the stigma from this topic, Landsberg delivers a powerful and personal keynote on the dangerously misunderstood issues of depression and mental health. Depression can affect even the most successful of athletes—from Clara Hughes, one of the great amateur athletes in Canada, to four-time World Series winner Darryl Strawberry. Landsberg shares the story of his own battle with mental illness, as well as the unexplored stories of some of the world’s most recognizable sports figures, to show us that recovery, strength and hope are possible in some of our darkest times.
From acting as a long-time ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk, to founding his own non-profit organization #SickNotWeak, Michael Landsberg has cemented himself as one of the nation’s leading voices in mental health advocacy. Most recently, the former host of TSN’s Off the Record has devoted himself to supporting mental health and wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with a digital program called Isolation Nation. “For a decade I [have] tried to describe how mental illnesses like depression and anxiety feel. I spent a thousand hours trying to convince so many that depression is a sickness and not a weakness,” explains Landsberg. However, since the pandemic hit, many who could not have personally understood the impact of mental illness before, have since begun to feel its effects.
Loneliness can have a profound impact on both our mental and physical health. In fact, a lack of social connection has been reported to heighten health risks as much as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Hoping to mitigate the dangers of social isolation, Landsberg takes the insights from his high-profile guests—ranging from Olympic gold medalists to city councillors, former paramedics, and relationship psychologists—and applies them to everyday life in the “new normal.” It is a talk that is as uplifting as it is educational, helping to effectively tackle the pandemic of mental illness that has followed the virus.