Canadians know Michael Landsberg best as the brash, quick-witted sports journalist who started his career at the anchor desk on TSN’s Sportsdesk and then enjoyed an 18-year run with his no-holds-barred interview show Off The Record.
Today, Landsberg is still talking sports, but he spends much of his time sharing the story of his ongoing battle with depression and encouraging people to talk about mental health.
Earlier this week, Landsberg addressed almost 500 delegates attending the Grain World conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He talked openly about how he’s suffered from severe anxiety and depression since 2000, his constant battle to maintain his self-esteem, and how his mental health dominates his life.
As RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin found out in this interview, Landsberg talks about mental health with the same vigour as he does his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. “It’s actually the easiest and most natural thing in the world. In so many ways it’s easier to get up and talk about this because I don’t have to wear the mask.”
While Landsberg continues to talk sports as the co-host of the morning show on Toronto’s TSN1050 radio, he dedicates much of his time to the #SickNotWeak campaign to help people who experience mental illness.
His message focuses on the need to understand that mental illness is a sickness not a weakness. He believes people need to talk about their challenges and there should be no stigma attached. “That’s why I’m here to try to empower people to say: ‘he can do it — I can do it too’.”
In the interview, Landsberg acknowledges the challenging environment farmers face on a daily basis and offers some advice. It starts with being aware that the farm can be a high-stress environment – acknowledging that is critical. It’s also vital to understand that sharing your anxiety is not a weakness. It’s the first step to getting help.