Focal Point: Daniel Northway-Frank advocates for mental health supports within non-profits

Daniel Northway-Frank

At the National Screen Institute, we are proud to support our alumni and their achievements. Through Focal Point, we aim to extend our support to our alumni as well as industry professionals making positive change within the film and television industries.

Daniel Northway-Frank started an important conversation about mental health within the industry though a blog post on Bell Let’s Talk Day. The post garnered attention from his peers and other industry leaders – accumulating over 1,000 views and counting.

During this time of isolation and hardship, his story resonates with many in the industry and instills hope for better working conditions in the future.

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Daniel Northway-Frank wants those suffering with mental health issues to know they are not alone. 

After years of working as an event organizer, Daniel started to develop stress-induced depression and anxiety. He voiced his thoughts about mental health support in the workplace through a blog post on Bell Let’s Talk Day. His story was seen by many of his peers and beyond – starting a conversation he now wants to build upon.

“I am not alone, and I believe mental health support systems need to change in the non-profit sector at large,” says Daniel.

As a driven worker in his field, Daniel strived for perfection. He created a success system within himself which forced him to take on more than he could handle. This internal system drove him to his lowest point. Admitting he needed help was the first step on his mental health journey.

“No longer could my body and mind reconcile to achieve a higher pillar of success in the praise-based system I had built and relied upon for my self-worth, soul and ego,” says Daniel.

Daniel stepped down from his job to work on his mental health and sought out cognitive behavioural therapy. His experience motivated him to encourage non-profits to prioritize their employee’s mental health, starting with allocating funding towards mental health support.

“This must change, to support those passionate administrators to stay passionate, and prevent their own burn-out.”

Daniel created a toolkit which includes a routine of exercise, long walks in nature, meditation, podcast listening, eating well, social engagement, rest, alone time and medication. He believes this toolkit is something people should have at their fingertips, not hidden away at the back of their minds. 

“I know and continue to have my own personal mindful work to do, which is ongoing and has been challenged by the pandemic,” says Daniel. “I know from conversations with peers that my story is only one of many, many more.”

Daniel is using his platform to call on organizations to provide mental health and wellness support for their employees. He believes prioritizing and funding these supports is the first step an organization can take towards acceptance and healing.

“I hope this perspective changes this story in our sector for the better, starting today.”

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Resources on mental health in the workplace

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