Steven Page Performs at Ontario Shores in Support of Mental Health Awareness

October 31, 2011
Steven Page
Steven Page at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
By age 25, Steven Page had become an internationally-acclaimed musician with the popular Canadian band Barenaked Ladies. He held fame, fortune, public admiration and a suicide plan he had mapped out when he was seven years old.

“I didn’t realize until much later that wasn’t how everyone thought,” says Page. “And then I didn’t want to share those feelings for fear of being judged.”

Page, now an accomplished solo artist, shared his experience with mental illness at the 4th Annual Imagine Film Festival hosted by Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) in support of mental health awareness. He followed with a short, but moving musical performance as well as a meet and greet with fans.

After years of half-heartedly participating in treatment plans for his mental illness, Page finally committed to his recovery following his 2009 arrest for drug possession. The arrest was a self-described “blip” that opened his eyes to the gravity of his situation, and since then he has supported several mental health awareness events to encourage others to share their stories and seek help.

“We all have an important role to play in addressing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness so those who need help will come forward without fear of being judged or labelled,” says Karim Mamdani, Chief Operating Officer at Ontario Shores. “It is through awareness events such as the Imagine Film Festival that we can encourage dialogue and connect with each other, to truly have an impact on the recovery and well-being of our local community and all people.”

It was clear from his childhood suicide plan that Page struggled with demons uncommon among his friends. Those struggles followed him into adulthood, and through a number of hospitals, counsellors and several diagnoses including bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. Despite recording a successful album and shining in the spotlight as the front-man for Barenaked Ladies, Page became overwhelmed by his illness.

“We were making the video for our first single, Jane, and I couldn’t get out of bed,” says Page. “I couldn’t hide (the feelings) anymore, I couldn’t be a teenage kid hiding at my parents’ house. It’s not like I didn’t want to go, I just couldn’t.”

The famous musician felt like a fraud, and his depression deepened the guilt and shame he felt for letting down his band, crew and producers, and eventually led to his departure from Barenaked Ladies, a band he had co-created and played with for 20 years.

However, rather than retreating as the “clichéd eccentric hermit” and blaming others for his difficulties, Page sought help and went on to pursue a successful solo career. His latest solo project, Page One, explores his unique skill as a musician and represents, “not a version of yesterday, but rather a vision of today and tomorrow.”

Page’s stunning performance at the Imagine Film Festival showcased his raw talent and uninhibited passion for music as well as assured his role in music history for years to come.

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 4001