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Oilers to host Hockey Talks night in support of mental health awareness

Oilers Foundation working with local charities to champion mental health initiatives

by Press Release / OilersFoundation.ca

(Edmonton, AB) - The Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) are proudly supporting Hockey Talks for the seventh consecutive season by designating the game on January 20 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes as their Hockey Talks night. Hockey Talks is an initiative that brings awareness and encourages a conversation about mental health.  

The Oilers Hockey Talks initiative is part of a collective effort with 11 other National Hockey League (NHL) clubs, including all Canadian teams, to alleviate the misconceptions and stigma associated with mental illness and provide information about help and resources that are available. Each will host a Hockey Talks game night from January 16 to March 17.

The schedule for Hockey Talks dates by NHL participating clubs:

Date                Home Team               Visiting Team
Jan. 16            Vancouver Canucks   Edmonton Oilers
Jan. 20            New York Islanders    Anaheim Ducks
Jan. 20            Edmonton Oilers         Carolina Hurricanes
Jan. 23            Toronto Maple Leafs   Washington Capitals
Jan. 23            Montreal Canadiens    Arizona Coyotes
Jan. 31            Winnipeg Jets             Columbus Blue Jackets
Feb. 3              Carolina Hurricanes    Calgary Flames
Feb. 5              New Jersey Devils      Los Angeles Kings
Feb. 7              Ottawa Senators         Anaheim Ducks
Feb. 7              Arizona Coyotes         Columbus Blue Jackets
Feb. 7              Calgary Flames           San Jose Sharks
Mar. 17            Colorado Avalanche   New Jersey Devils

Representatives from the Mental Health Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation will be located at booths on the concourse of Rogers Place to promote local mental health resources, including the new Access 24/7 program. Mental health facts and resources will also be shared throughout the game. The Oilers Foundation will host Mark Korthuis, President and CEO of the Mental Health Foundation and Andrew Otway, CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, who will both participate in an interview during the first intermission of the game to provide information on the mental health resources available in Edmonton. Oilers players will wear Hockey Talks helmet decals throughout the night and Hockey Talks t-shirts in their pre- and post-game interviews to help spread the word.

"The Mental Health Foundation has been fortunate to receive support from the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation in the past, and admires their ongoing commitment to mental health for our community," said Mark Korthuis. "Everyone is affected by mental illness in some way, whether individually or through a loved one. Promoting the Access 24/7 initiative through Hockey Talks means more Edmontonians will have the tools they need to find the right help for them at the right time."

Access 24/7 will provide patients and families with a single point of contact for addiction and mental health services. This is the first program of its kind that consolidates the current access points into one "front door" where patients and families have streamlined access to multiple services, making it easier to navigate the system. Once the centre opens later this winter, individuals in Edmonton can access the centre any time, day or night, to receive immediate, professional help by either walking in at the location in Anderson Hall (10959 102 Street) or by calling the 24/7 telephone line.

"The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has a strong legacy of supporting mental health initiatives in our community. Increasing the dialogue around mental health issues can make a real impact by helping decrease the stigma of mental illness and increasing awareness for the treatment and resources that are available," said EOCF Executive Director Natalie Minckler. "Access 24/7 is an amazing initiative that will benefit so many people in our community and we are proud to help spread the word through our Hockey Talks night."

The Foundation's record of support of mental health initiatives includes the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Family Room in the Royal Alexandra Hospital's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit. Opened in 2015, the hockey-themed room provides pediatric mental health patients and their families a welcoming and friendly space to spend time together while at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit houses a multidisciplinary team that specializes in assessment, stabilization and diagnosis of youth aged six to 18 years of age for both urgent inpatient care and follow-up treatment.

Fans and supporters can join the conversation and lend their voices through social media by using #HockeyTalks. Collectively, fans will have the chance to share personal messages and messages of support to create an atmosphere of open dialogue, unification and awareness about mental health.

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS FACTS*
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.
  • Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada.
  • A growing body of international evidence demonstrates that promotion, prevention, and early intervention initiatives show positive returns on investment in this health sector.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

  • 211 (1-888-482-4696) or ab.211.ca 
  • Health Link Alberta - 811
  • Mental Health Help Line - 1-877-303-2642
  • Distress line - 780-482-4357 or 780-342-7777
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