Hockey Talks - Mental Health Awareness

Ottawa Senators Foundation to build awareness for Youth Mental Health and Wellness through Hockey Talks in support of D.I.F.D.

The Ottawa Senators and Ottawa Senators Foundation will host their second annual Hockey Talks day on January 30, seeking to encourage a national conversation about youth mental health through 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 for the one in five Ontarians under the age of 17 who suffer from a mental health disorder.

The Ottawa Senators Hockey Talks event is part of a collective effort, with all of the Canadian NHL clubs dedicating one of their game nights in January to bringing awareness to this topic in an attempt to alleviate misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with mental illness.

Specifically, each club will raise awareness about mental health through in-arena messaging at one of their home games and other means determined by each individual club.

The in-game programming will help inform fans about mental health issues and the associated challenges. It will also identify resources available to those in need of help or support.

This year, fans are encouraged to join the conversation by downloading a Hockey Talks sign and posting a picture via social media with the hashtag #hockeytalks.

The schedule for Hockey Talks night hosted by each Canadian Club is as follows:


Bell Let's Talk Day

B-Sens vs Hamilton Bulldogs in support of D.I.F.D.

Hockey Talks Facts & Figures

Hockey Talks Questions and Answers

One in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime; it indirectly affects many 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 per cent 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. 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Promote organizations and resources in the community/region offering support to children/youth/families needing access to Mental Health treatment services.
  4. Raise funds to help support specific initiatives within the community that provide resources for children/youth/families needing access to Mental Health treatment services.