Stronger than Stigma

Hockey. It’s more than just a game.

It’s not always what happens on the ice that counts. The league and individual teams plus the players and their families contribute a lot of time, money, and effort into charitable projects and foundations. This year, on January 30th, Bell Canada is sponsoring their annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness surrounding mental health and raise money to support mental health initiatives in Canada. Since 2013, the Canadian NHL franchises have publicly supported Bell’s efforts by hosting Hockey Talks campaigns.

It seems like another NHL player is diagnosed with a concussion every week, making their mental health an even more important factor in their overall health and well-being. Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo is a leader among alumni, speaking out about his own struggles and fighting for those who have lost their own fights. Carcillo advocates for more effective strategies of determining and reporting concussions in the NHL. He shares his thoughts on the matter daily @CarBombBoom13 and through his foundation Their mission is to help athletes discover their new purpose and transition into life after their sports careers end.

Earlier today, Carcillo shared this tweet from @DalaiLama, “We should practise by showing affection and helping one another. It is a mistake to pursue happiness and to seek to the avoid suffering by deceiving and humiliating other people. We must try to achieve happiness and eliminate suffering by being considerate and good-hearted.”

It’s time to #EndTheStigma that athletes need to be tough of the time and put on a front for teammates, family, fans, and the media. There are so many programs, foundations, movements, and efforts to spread the importance of mental health and raise awareness. In addition to Bell Let’s Talk Day, Hockey Talks, and Chapter 5 Foundation, there is Do It for Daron ( a youth-driven and focused movement, Bring Change 2 Mind (, and many more.

There are many ways, we as fans, friends, family, and strangers can support these movements and those battling with their mental health and well-being:
TALK ABOUT IT – Start a dialogue, not a debate
BREAK THE SILENCE – Talk about how mental illness touches us all in some way                directly or through a friend, family member or colleague. Stories of lived experience          are the best way to help eradicate stigma.
LISTEN AND BE KIND – Support mental health and anti-stigma programs in your                community.

On January 30th Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of our Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. For EVERY Tweet and Retweet containing the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, 5 cents will be donated. It’s something small we can all do to make a difference.
It’s time to be #StrongerThanStigma together.

-A. Kam

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