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Edmonton Oilers Support Mental Health Initiatives Through Hockey Talks

by Edmonton Oilers Press Release / Edmonton Oilers

(Edmonton, AB) - The Edmonton Oilers will host their fourth annual Hockey Talks event on February 20, 2016, to encourage a conversation about mental health. The Oilers will dedicate this game night to bringing awareness to mental health and are offering fans the opportunity to get involved through social media.

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) will raise money during the game by selling limited-edition, autographed Oilers hats on the concourse for $20. Net proceeds will benefit the CASA Foundation to support its Adolescent Day Program and the EOCF. The CASA Foundation is a major community-based provider of mental health services for infants, children, adolescents and their families within Edmonton and both Central and Northern Alberta.

“The Oilers Foundation is committed to raising mental health awareness and facilitating a wider conversation surrounding these issues in order to reduce any stigma or misconceptions,” said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director, EOCF. “This is our fourth season supporting Hockey Talks and our hope is that it serves as an important platform for our community to become more aware and proactive with mental health treatment.”

The Oilers Hockey Talks event is part of an effort with the other Canadian NHL clubs where each will dedicate one of their game nights from January 26 to February 29, 2016 to bring awareness to mental health in an attempt to provide information from experts and alleviate some of the misconceptions and stigma associated with mental illness. As an homage of support, the entire Oilers team will be wearing Hockey Talks helmet decals during games throughout the campaign.

Fans will also have the opportunity to lend their voices through social media by using the hashtag #HockeyTalks. Social media messages using the hashtag can appear as part of an online mosaic to showcase a united voice.

The schedule for Hockey Talks nights by Canadian NHL clubs is as follows:

Montreal Canadiens Columbus Blue Jackets January 26
Ottawa Senators Buffalo Sabres January 26
Vancouver Canucks Calgary Flames February 6
Toronto Maple Leafs New York Rangers February 18
Calgary Flames Vancouver Canucks February 19
Edmonton Oilers Colorado Avalanche February 20
Winnipeg Jets Dallas Stars February 23

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada. According to mental health experts, on average, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; thereby affecting indirectly many more Canadians through a family member, friend or colleague. Approximately 70 per cent of mental health problems and illnesses have their onset during childhood or adolescence. Stigma attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community.

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. A growing body of international evidence demonstrates that promotion, prevention and early intervention initiatives show positive returns on investment in this health sector.

These statistics were compiled from information available through the following websites: Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

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