Hockey Talks - Mental Health Awareness
Senators set to host Bell Hockey Talks Mental Health in support of D.I.F.D. presented by Ferguslea Properties Limited
The Senators and Sens Foundation will host Hockey Talks on Saturday, Feb. 23, when they take on Toronto. For a third straight season, the organization will partner with Do It For Daron (D.I.F.D.) and look to inspire conversations and educate fans on the topic of youth mental health while raising funds in support of their $100,000 pledge commitment to the D.I.F.D. Fund at The Royal.
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, the Hockey Talks message can have an extensive reach, connecting with citizens of all ages and backgrounds.
Bell Mental Health chairperson Mary Deacon will take part in a ceremonial puck drop prior to Saturday’s game along Stephanie Richardson, and Kegan Keon and Bria Hearty – two local youths who have had hosted four community events raising more than $35,000 in support of D.I.F.D.
Prior to and during the game, Senators players, coaches, wives and girlfriends will join volunteers from Bell, The Royal and Sens Foundation president Danielle Robinson in an effort to raise funds through the sale of Hockey Talks and D.I.F.D.-themed bracelets ($5), pins ($5), pucks ($10), mittens ($15), t-shirts ($20) and D.I.F.D. kits ($20).
Upon entering Scotiabank Place, fans will receive a Bell Hockey Talks Mental Health in support of D.I.F.D. pamphlet including a donation envelope, which can be submitted during the in-game collection or mailed to the Sens Foundation. Fans can also donate $5 by text-messaging DIFD to 45678. Fans are encouraged to join the conversation by sharing personal experiences or messages of support via social media with the hashtag #hockeytalks
Other resources and information:
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has been a champion for Mental Health in the community for a number of years. His work with the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and their You Know Who I Am campaign really was a leadership role in personal story telling by Daniel to create awareness of the many complex issues surround the mental health and the stigmas attached to it. To support his efforts and to bring further attention to the mental health, and the 1 in 5 people impacted, the Sens Foundation made a $100,000 pledge to the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and its Early Identification and Intervention program.
A new event called the SENSational Ride for Mental Health was created. This stationary bike race in our players’ gym facility, an exclusive and private NHL space not normally opening to the public, enabled people to register and raise funds with us in support of the Royal Ottawa. More importantly the event was an additional platform to talk about the importance of youth mental health. This event was hosted in 2009 and 2010.
In November 2010, Daron Richardson, a very talented and bright young lady tragically took her own life. Daron was the daughter of Ottawa Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson. Rather than keeping this tragedy to themselves, the Richardson family decided to raise awareness of teen suicide and depression in hopes of preventing further tragedies like Daron’s occurring. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-24 year old Canadians. More than 4,000 young people die prematurely each year. As a result, young people and communities within North America have responded and there are a number of Do It For Daron (D.I.F.D.) activities taking place in an effort to encourage people to speak up, stand up, and make a difference.
As a result of the Richardson family going public with their story, the Sens Foundation and Ottawa Senators launched its Youth Mental Health Awareness Night to take place at a home game in February of each season. February is Daron Richardson’s birth month.
The primary goals of this annual event are to:
- Raise awareness that Youth Mental Illness does exist and that as a result it’s the second leading cause of death in 15-24 year old Canadians.
- Create call to action with our fans/community each year … speak up, stand up, and make a difference…inspire conversations on the topic of Youth Mental Health
- Promote organizations and resources in the community/region offering support to children/youth/families needing access to Mental Health treatment services.
- Raise funds to help support specific initiatives within the community that provide resources for children/youth/families needing access to Mental Health treatment services.
That solution is HOCKEY TALKS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS.