What's Your Big Lie?
A breakthrough interactive keynote, workshop and pop-up exhibit that has collected over 150,000 confessions between 160 events in only 18 months...
(And many, many others...)
Why the program matters
More lives are taken by suicide than by acts of war, terrorism and homicide combined worldwide. This fact may shock you, but let us shine some light on the all-too-frequently-ignored facts, and suddenly this statement won’t seem so staggering.
In both Canada and the United States, 1 in 5 people suffer from mental illness and 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness by the time they’re 40. With men making up 50.4% of the canadian population, that means that there are more people in Canada who will have experienced a mental illness than there are women.
Unfortunately, of these millions of sufferers, most will go without treatment. Approximately 3.2 million youths aged 12 to 19 experience mental illness, and only 1 in 5 receive help of any kind. This isn’t without repercussion.
Over the last 20 years suicide rates have been rising dramatically, especially for those aged 15-24 where suicide is responsible for 24% of all deaths -the second leading cause. In America suicide rates have been rising steadily since the ‘90s, and by 2% every year since 2006. In Canada it’s now estimated that 210 people will attempt to take their own lives each day.
Hauntingly, these statistics aren’t typically viewed as accurate. In reality the rates are estimated to be higher, but with the stigma and shame associated with suicide, many cases go unreported.
The mental health crisis that is facing us, and especially the youth, is very real. And it’s getting worse.
What’s Your Big Lie? is based on the concept that everyone has a “big lie” shielding us from who we truly are. And when we feel like we are living a lie, we are more prone to anxiety and depression, less able to exercise rational thought and have a much harder time to pay attention. In effect, we’re in panic mode.
A big lie is defined as, “something immense that we hide from the world even though it defines us."
Our big lies can make us feel like we’re not enough, like we don’t belong and like we’re alone. But what if we shared our big lies? What would happen next?
Using phones and an anonymous technology platform, participants submit what they are hiding from everyone (their “big lie”). When asked thought-provoking questions, responses are filtered and projected in real-time onto a screen for audiences to absorb. Participants then respond back to different statements verbally – not knowing who in the room it came from – offering messages of affirmation and hope.
This program was developed in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2016 and has been receiving rave reviews since it’s launch. WYBL has been presented to over 100,000 students, teachers, parents, and professionals.
WYBL helps participants support each other and catalyzes shifts towards inclusivity and acceptance. This interactive keynote and pop-up exhibit is a spark to build a stigma-free culture of openness and vulnerability at school or work. It is ideal for institutions and groups who are looking to strengthen peer support, empathy, and belonging.