MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens join forces with the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets and participate in Hockey Talks, a month-long initiative, supported by the National Hockey League, to bring increased dialogue and awareness to mental health and effective treatments. A game night in each respective city will be dedicated to Hockey Talks where each team will lend their voice to help encourage a national conversation about mental health and wellness. Touched by the cause, defenseman Josh Gorges and Alumni Guy Lafleur are lending their voice as spokespersons for the campaign.
The Montreal Canadiens are launching their initiatives on February 6 by hosting their Hockey Talks awareness night as they take on the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. When the doors open to the public, players’ wives and girlfriends, along with Bell ambassadors, will distribute wristbands in support of the Bell Let’s talk national campaign. During the game, teenagers from the Les petits trésors Foundation will enjoy the game in a private suite while representatives from the Foundation will be stationed at community corner in section 103 to distribute resources to fans. Canadiens players will don a Hockey Talks decal on their helmet for the rest of the month of February in support of this initiative.
The seven Canadian NHL teams recognize the importance of education and open dialogue of mental health and wellness at a national level. The goal of Hockey Talks is to bring this topic to the forefront in the public realm and alleviate misconception and stigma that has been unfairly associated with mental illness. With the collaboration of the seven Canadian hockey clubs, this message can have an extensive reach, connecting with citizens of all ages and backgrounds. During the month of February, each Canadian team will raise mental health awareness through in-arena messaging and online storytelling, sharing information and experiences at one of their home games. The programming and dialogue brings the opportunity to provide information to fans in recognizing mental health issues and better understanding the challenges associated with mental illness and to connect those in need of support with mental health organizations.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS
One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; it indirectly affects all Canadians at some point through a family member, friend or colleague. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community. Approximately 70% of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Identifying the signs early and getting connected to tools and support is the most important way to prevent problems from becoming worse. Mental health problems and illnesses can be treated effectively.