Toronto, ON (January 25, 2012) – CTV marks the second annual Bell Let’s Talk Day with the primetime premiere of a new original documentary about sports and depression. Premiering on Bell Let’s Talk Day, Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV and CTV Mobile, ‘Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me,’ features TSN Broadcaster and ‘Off The Record’ host Michael Landsberg (@heylandsberg) as he guides viewers on the journey from depression to recovery and hope in the context of the world of sports. Sports heroes including Olympian and Bell Let’s Talk Day spokesperson Clara Hughes, hockey’s Stéphane Richer, and baseball’s Darryl Strawberry reveal intimate details of a struggle familiar to millions of Canadians. It’s the first of many programming initiatives from Bell Media in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day.
During the broadcast premiere of ‘Darkness and Hope’ and afterwards (7 – 8:30 p.m. ET), Landsberg keeps the conversation going as he joins Bell Let’s Talk Day spokesperson Clara Hughes in a live, 90-minute online discussion at CTV.ca and the CTV iPad App.
The documentary repeats Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TSN2; Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV Two; and on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. ET on CTV.
“I have learned from my own battle with depression that talking and sharing were vital keys to finding my way out of darkness toward the light,” said Landsberg. “I am passionately committed to talking about depression and mental health. I hope that by opening up and sharing our struggles, we can find ways of coping – and take away the stigma of depression, which is what Bell Let’s Talk Day is all about.”
Clara Hughes is arguably the greatest amateur athlete in Canadian history. Her Olympic success (six medals in cycling and speed skating) have brought her countless awards, including the Order of Canada. Yet, at the peak of her success, she was being pulled apart by a deep, internal pain. Stéphane Richer is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time 50-goal scorer, who once played for the Montreal Canadiens. Within days of winning the Stanley Cup, his depression became so deep he considered driving his speeding sports car off the road. Darryl Strawberry was one of the most talented prospects in baseball. He won four World Series titles – one with the New York Mets and three with the Yankees; and was the toast of the Big Apple, until his life-long battle with depression led him down a path of drugs, alcohol and destructive behaviour. In ‘Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me’ all three share stories of mental illness and – ultimately – recovery, strength and hope.
Landsberg reached a turning point in his lifelong battle with depression while interviewing Richer in 2009. Landsberg asked if they could talk about depression – framed as “something we have in common.” This courageous moment of admission ushered in massive change for Landsberg, who discovered a passion for helping others.
“This moving documentary illustrates Bell Media’s commitment to an open conversation about mental illness,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production. “It’s time to fight the stigma that prevents people from getting the help they need. The response from Canadians since the launch of Bell Let’s Talk Day has been inspiring. We encourage viewers to watch and engage with this film and to keep the conversation going.”
Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Hubert Davis (HARDWOOD), ‘Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me’ is produced by Sandra Picheca and Michael Landsberg for See See Three Entertainment Inc. in association with CTV. For Bell Media, Robin Johnston is Production Executive; Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production; Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.
The Bell Let’s Talk Mental Health Initiative
Bell Let’s Talk is a $50-million, multi-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada based on four key pillars: Anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices. It’s the largest-ever corporate investment in mental health in Canada. To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk