CALGARY, AB -- Hockey Talks.
And Calgary Flames forward Micheal Ferland understands fully the importance of getting people talking.
“I’ve had some troubles in the past,” said Ferland, Calgary’s ambassador for Hockey Talks. “Being in that position, I know how some people are feeling. The biggest thing is to talk to someone and not keep things held inside and just talk about it. I think it’s an honour for me to be involved.”
The Flames launched their 2016 Hockey Talks campaign in support of Canadian mental health awareness on Monday. Calgary will host their fourth annual Hockey Talks game against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 19.
The Flames will donate a portion of the 50/50 proceeds at the Hockey Talks game to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). CHMA - Calgary volunteers will also be selling pucks at the game, with a third of them autographed by Flames players.
One in five Canadians will experience a mental healthy problem or illness in their lifetime. It’s an issue that directly or indirectly affects all Canadians at some point through a family member, friend or colleague.
Approximately 70 percent of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
“I think it’s a very important cause,” Ferland said. “The Canadian Mental Health Association, Calgary Distress Center, and Kids Help Phone all provide great resources for those who need help. I think the biggest thing is to ask for help and not keep things bundled up inside.”
Hockey Talks is part of a collective effort featuring all seven Canadian NHL teams dedicating one game in February to bringing awareness to the topic of mental health in an attempt to alleviate misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with the topic.
Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also acceptance into the community.
Last year, the Calgary Flames Foundation donated $12,500 to the CMHA - Calgary via the Hockey Talks game. Over $35,000 has been raised by the Calgary Flames Foundation for this cause since its inception three years ago.