Let’s Talk

Most days, I write about hockey on this platform but some things are bigger than hockey. Today is #BellLetsTalk day to help raise awareness about the importance of mental health and help to erase the stigmas that surround it. Days like today are just the beginning and we need to continue the conversation to break the silence every day, not just today.

Let’s talk for those who have fought and lost the battle reminding us how important it is to fight this battle every day. Let’s talk for those who continue to battle the same battle every single day. Our mental health is as important as our physical health.

As a Vancouver Canucks fan, a hockey fan, as a friend, and as myself, I have witnessed all ends of the spectrum of how important an individual’s mental health is to their overall health. And let’s face it, it is a conversation that we should be having EVERY single day. It’s okay to not be okay.ryp37

It’s okay to ask for help or admit that you need help. There is absolutely NO shame in any of it. Your mental health matters today, tomorrow and always. Let’s keep breaking the silence so that NO ONE has to suffer alone or ever fear speaking up.

Just because someone smiles does not mean they don’t have problems, sometimes it is those who smile the brightest who suffer the most. Sometimes it is affecting people next to us and we cannot see it. Sometimes it happens to not just someone you admire or your friend, it happens to you when you never saw it coming. Sometimes it comes at you in waves and sometimes it comes all at once. Some days you will feel consumed and as though you cannot possibly make it to tomorrow, but you battle through it. It may not feel better today or tomorrow, but it DOES get better.

Sometimes all you need is one person to listen, one person who will not judge you. Talking about it helps. Having a support system helps. And if any of you ever need someone to talk to, or simply to listen, know that you can talk to me free of judgement at any time (leave me a comment below, send me a tweet [@nucksaid] or even an email [nucksaid@gmail.com]).

Some helpful resources that help anyone who is suffering or knows someone who is suffering:

Sick Not Weak / Mind Check / Mind Right /

Let’s get loud about our mental health so much so that it becomes a part of our every day routine and the stigmas no longer exist.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

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Mind Right

Today, at Nucksaid, I’m going to talk about something that is important to every Vancouver Canucks and hockey fan: mental health awareness. It is a conversation that we need not fear and a conversation that needs to happen everyday.

A few months ago, I introduced all of you to an aspiring hockey player and youth advocate for Mental Health Awareness: Myles Mattila(Myles to Go).

Recently Myles has launched his latest mental health initiative: Mind Right. It is based in Prince George, British Columbia and geared towards the Cariboo Cougars organization(1 of 11 teams in the BC Major Midget Hockey League). It aims to educate the players, coaches, staff, parents and supporters. The aim is that this program will one day reach every team in the BCMMHL, wouldn’t that be amazing?

Wouldn’t it be even more incredible if programs like these were province wide not just for hockey teams of all ages, but for all kids and adults alike? Yes, it would and we can help make that so by continuing the conversation, helping programs like MIND RIGHT gain recognition and be inspired to help end the stigmas that surround mental health.

If you would like to learn more about the Mind Right program, please follow their journey on both the website and twitter.

Twitter: @CCMindRight      Website: http://www.MindRight.info

Whether you are a young hockey player, or someone who loves the game or know someone who could benefit from this program or one like it, please take a moment to learn more about Mind Right. It’s inspiring to see steps like this program move forward in BC and hopefully lead to many more in the near future.

Together, we can help keep this conversation going and know that as Myles so wisely told me: “it ain’t weak to speak”. To those reading this, if you or someone you know needs help, help will always be here when you are ready.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Myles To Go

As a Canucks fan and a hockey fan, I have had both the joy and the heart break of understanding the importance of Mental Health Awareness. From the heart-breaking loss of Rick Rypien to the innovative creation of resources like Mindcheck.ca, my world has expanded to know that talking about the importance of mental health is a conversation that needs to happen every single day. It is my hope that one day there will be NO stigmas surrounding mental health and that no one will ever have to fear speaking up for someone else or themselves.

Recently I was introduced to the empowering story of aspiring hockey player, Myles Mattila and felt it is one that should be shared with all of my readers. If you are a Canucks fan, you may have heard his story as a part of the #HockeyTalks initiative…please keep reading to learn even more:

Here’s a few quick news clips to let you meet Myles:

Global News story on Myles: “New Program aims to address mental health issues among young hockey players”

Keeping Mindcheck.ca in Mind” (via the Prince George Free Press)

I thought it would also be good to hear a little bit more about Myles and why raising awareness is incredibly important to him. For the last few years he has been working to open the conversation around mental health and help erase the stigmas that surround it. Myles is a son, a friend, a hockey player, a youth advocate and he is using his voice to speak up so that one day NO ONE will ever be afraid to ask for help. Here’s our interview of sorts to help you know him more, and hopefully understand why we need to open this conversation to our everyday vernacular.:

Sarah: If you wouldn’t mind, it would help for everyone reading this, if you could give a brief summary of your hockey story that has inspired your work in expanding the all important conversation on Mental Health awareness. Speaking up is not always easy, BUT you did it.

Myles Mattila: I wanted to raise awareness about mental health because of a difficult situation that I had encountered a few years ago. My teammate, who was always a happy hockey player, with a good attitude, suddenly changed. He wasn’t acting like himself and some things really began to worry me. He lost interest in the game that he used to love, his temper grew short, and his actions turned irrational. He started to make dark comments of feeling unhappy and unworthy. He was beginning to be very negative and started to isolate himself from other people. Nothing could cheer him up, not even friends or hockey. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me to leave him alone. At first, I thought he was having a bad day but when it continued, I noticed it was more than that. My teammate was in mental distress and needed help. I wanted to point him in the right direction but I didn’t know what to do, who he should talk to, or where he could go for support. Mental health wasn’t a common topic and I didn’t know much about it. I had never been in a situation like this before, I felt like I let him down because I didn’t know what I could do to help. I started getting involved in volunteering at the local mental health office and participating in youth programs to raise awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness. At times, it was challenging to spread the word and get people involved, but I set small goals so that I wouldn’t get discouraged. When I started promoting mental health, I faced some road blocks doing presentations and putting up posters. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to show a great mental health video even though it was appropriate and approved for the audience. I felt strongly about showing it because it’s captivating and gets the message across to youth. I was also told I couldn’t put mental health posters up in public places.However I continued to promote the cause and I approached other venues and people who would support me. The impact that I feel I have made raising awareness is that people feel more comfortable opening up and talking about the subject when they know that they are not alone. Many people have shared their stories and experiences about themselves, their friends or their family. Several of them have suffered in silence because of the stigma. Anyone can have mental health challenges in their lifetime and it can be very difficult. However it WILL get easier if you get help. Letting people know that you are there to listen, CAN make a big difference. If you want to raise awareness, you can start by talking to your peers about the subject.

S: You said one of your personal goals for this year is wanting people to talk about mental health, that is incredibly admirable. It is not an easy discussion but one that needs to happen more regularly. Why do you think so many people struggle to open the discussion?

MM: A charity organization that I am advocating for in Australia called: LIVIN, has a mantra and philosophy, “It ain’t weak to speak”, which gets promoted on their fashion line which gets sold globally. It is exactly that. Most people do not open the discussion because the fear of judgement, embarrassment and then the other side of the spectrum which is a lack of understanding, lack of empathy and misjudgement. For someone who struggles, it can be very difficult to speak up because of the negative stigma that is associated with mental illness that stops people from seeking professional help and getting better.

S: I love that motto: “it ain’t weak to speak”. It’s simple, yet perfectly captures a truth that needs to be spoken more often. What is one thing that you’d like for young kids and anyone who struggles with mental health issues to know?

MM: You are not alone. 1 in 5 people suffer from some kind so mental illness in their lifetime. Talk to your friends, family, teachers, sports coach, mentors, anybody. Once you open up the discussion, this can be the first step to getting the help you need to get back to LIVIN again. “It ain’t weak to speak.”

S: Wise words. Thank-you, Myles for sharing your story and continuing EVERY DAY to open and encourages the conversation about the importance of mental health awareness. And to those of you reading this, if YOU or someone you know suffers with mental health issues, please remember as Myles says: “it ain’t weak to speak”. You are NOT alone and when you are ready, help will be here.

RR37: Forever a Canuck

RYPIENToday, I am taking a break from True Blue, for a mental health day. Not a day for myself, but a day to remember a life taken way too soon and to ignite the discussion about the importance of mental health. The world needs to come together to erase the stigma surrounding mental health and raise awareness instead.

Rick Rypien fought his demons on & off the ice. Sadly he lost his battle BUT through his life, an awareness for mental health has begun through Mind Check.

IMG_0063“Keep your gloves on kid, you don’t have to fight anymore.” When news broke about the death of Rick Rypien, Canucks fans were shaken to the core. Three years have gone by since we lost Rick Rypien and some days, it still feels like yesterday. Rick Rypien encompassed what it meant to have the heart and soul of a Canuck every single time he was on the ice and off the ice when he gave his time to the teams charities. His heart for the game and life was so big, and the hole left by his absence will forever be felt. Sometimes those who shine the brightest, with the biggest hearts are overwhelmed by the darkness. PLEASE, if anyone you know is suffering or you feel like the darkness is too much…PLEASE know that YOUR LIFE MATTERS, and there are more people than you know who care about you. Asking for help might be the hardest thing you do but may also be the best, and remember, YOU ARE STRONGER than you even know.

The truth is, that there are no limits on who can be and who is affected by mental illness every day. It is not our place to judge or shame anyone who suffers from mental illness. Why do we even feel compelled to make judgements of any kind? Every single person is susceptible to the possibility of suffering some type of mental illness. I read an article the other day that poignantly reminded all, that the BRAIN is an ORGAN just as our hearts, lungs and livers are organs and our brains are in need of just as much care to lead a healthy life. Mental health is just as important as our physical health.

IMG_0858In January 2012, Mind Check launched their ONE VOICE campaign, and invited others to take the following pledge:

MCpledgeToday, I take the pledge once more. I know that is NOT a choice. It’s NOT a weakness, self-inflicted or a result of not trying. Sometimes you can’t just get over it, it won’t just  go away. Pretending it isn’t happening doesn’t help. Talking about it does. Getting support early can make the difference. Helping someone you care about is NOT a burden. I pledge to learn the signs. I will not judge. I will have compassion. I will reach out, listen, talk, help and find help. My name is Sarah Laug. I will NOT stay silent.      Will you also take the pledge?

If any of you suffer from depression, or mental illness of any kind, please remember that you are NOT alone. You may not know it yet, but there are more people than you even know who care about you and you are stronger than you think. Asking for help IS a strength, not a weakness. It may be the hardest thing for you to do, but it could also be the best thing that you do for yourself. YOUR LIFE MATTERS. If you ever need someone to talk to, please know that there is always someone willing to listen, including THIS kid. Talking about it helps and while I don’t promise to have all the answers, I do promise that I will listen without judgement.

Rick Rypien left us far too soon, but he left us some words of wisdom: “Believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You just have to believe in yourself and if you want it bad enough, YOU CAN DO IT.”  We still miss you Ryp, thank-you for sharing your heart with the world. Thank-you Kevin Bieksa, the Vancouver Canucks and everyone at Mind Check for helping to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Taking a Mental Health Day…

Rick "the ripper" Rypien. Gone but never forgotten. #ForeverACanuck

Rick “the ripper” Rypien. Gone but never forgotten. #ForeverACanuck

Today [January 28, 2014] is #BellLetsTalk day, a day in which an entire country tries to help raise awareness and erase the stigma that comes when discussing mental health. Mental health should not be something that we are afraid to discuss. Too many lives have been taken and NOT enough awareness has been made.

Suffering from mental illness does not make you weak, it merely means that you are struggling in way that people do not yet understand. Mental health describes a level of psychological well-being or an absence of a mental disorder.  Mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Mental health can also be defined as an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.

Sometimes the answers seem lost or we are afraid for whatever reason that no one understands. Everyone’s journey is different & while we might not be the same…EVERYONE deserves to feel like they belong. Sometimes the best gift YOU can give is to simply LISTEN because sometimes all they need to is be HEARD. Turning our backs on mental health is NEVER an option, we NEED to stop the stigma that surrounds it. EVERY person has they own scars that are invisible on the outside and we ALL need to know that IS OKAY to ask for help. TOO many lives have been lost from the fear to speak up, let’s BE FEARLESS…SPEAK UP and SAVE lives.

Please, if you are suffering or or know someone that is suffering from mental illness DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. There is NO shame in admitting weakness or a need for help BUT in our darkest moments we CAN find strength. Asking for help is not a weakness, it IS a strength.

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change”. -Eckhart Tolle

Resources:

Bell Let’s Talk

Mind Check

Rick Rypien fought his demons on & off the ice. Sadly he lost his battle BUT through his life, an awareness for mental health has begun through www.mindcheck.ca

Rick Rypien fought his demons on & off the ice. Sadly he lost his battle BUT through his life, an awareness for mental health has begun through https://www.mindcheck.ca and will continue for all those who fight the battle with mental health.

Today I am taking a mental health day AND taking the #MINDCHECK pledge, how about you?

I am Sarah and I am the friend of someone who was depressed.

I know it isn’t a choice. It’s not a weakness, self-inflicted, or a result of not trying. Sometimes you can’t just get over it, it won’t just go away. Pretending it isn’t happening doesn’t help. Talking about it does. Getting support early can make the difference.

Helping someone you care about is not a burden.

I pledge to learn the signs. I will not judge. I will have compassion. I will reach out, listen, talk, help, and find help.

My name is Sarah Laug and I will NOT stay silent. Will you?

Here’s to a BEGINNING for Mental Health awareness that will hopefully go beyond today and erase the stigmas that take away the focus.

Asking for help may be the most difficult thing you do today or tomorrow BUT I promise you it will be the most rewarding…this LIFE is worth living & YOU are important.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.