Senators joining the conversation about mental health support and treatment

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OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators (@Senators) and Ottawa Senators Foundation (@sensfoundation) will host a mental health awareness campaign in support of Bell Let’s Talk and the annual Bell Hockey Talks DIFD Mental Health Awareness Night presented by Ferguslea Properties Limited. The campaign will begins this evening with the Bell Let’s Talk game when the club hosts the New Jersey Devils and culminates on Thursday, Feb. 6 with Bell Hockey Talks DIFD Mental Health Awareness Night when the club hosts the Colorado Avalanche.

Since 2010, Senators Sports & Entertainment has partnered with Bell Let’s Talk and Do It For Daron (DIFD) in an effort to inspire conversations and educate fans about youth mental health. Using the hockey club’s media reach the goal of the campaign is to:

  • Educate the public about the mental health resources available in Ottawa and Gatineau.
  • Share information about existing programs and the impact they are having.
  • Continue to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and encourage everyone to join the conversation about mental health.

Join the Ottawa Senators on Monday, Jan. 27 versus the New Jersey Devils for an evening of entertainment and mental health awareness in support of the 10th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. Be one of the first 5,000 fans to receive an exclusive set of co-branded Ottawa Senators & Bell Let’s Talk thundersticks.

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 29

Everyone is invited to join the conversation by sending messages of support across multiple platforms to drive awareness and action in mental health. Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these communications on Bell Let’s Talk Day, at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service providers for online or phone access:

  • Talk: Every mobile and every long distance call made by Bell wireless and phone customers
  • Text: Every text message sent by Bell wireless customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk, featuring the special Bell Let’s Talk emoji, and every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/Bell_LetsTalk
  • Facebook: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/BellLetsTalk and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/Bell_LetsTalk
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view
  • YouTube: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at com/BellCanada

Hockey Talks

The goal of Hockey Talks is to bring mental health issues to the forefront of the public realm and alleviate misconceptions and the stigma often associated with mental illness. In collaboration with each Canadian NHL club, the Hockey Talks message has an extensive reach and connects with citizens of all ages and backgrounds.

DIFD

In November 2010, 14-year-old Daron Richardson died by suicide. From this tragedy came a movement to transform youth mental health. Daron’s parents Luke and Stephanie Richardson decided to transform their very private pain into a public call-to-action and made a decision to support young people who struggle with mental illness.

Supported by the energy and efforts of dozens of Daron’s close friends and classmates, a grassroots movement was formed with the mission of creating awareness, inspiring conversations, and transforming youth mental health.

To support the initiative fans can:

  • Purchase tickets to the games on Jan. 27, 31, Feb. 4, and Feb. 6. A discount will be provided to fans and a portion of every sale will support youth mental health initiatives.
  • Text SENS to 45678 to make a $10 donation, or text SENATORS to 45678 for a $5 contribution.
  • Bid on limited edition autographed Senators merchandise and other items at ottawasenators.com/auction
  • Purchase DIFD-themed merchandise including bracelets ($5), toques ($15) and mittens ($20) among other items.
  • Fans are encouraged to join the mental health conversation by sharing personal experiences or messages of support via social media with #hockeytalks.

Funds raised during the campaign will support the new ‘Youth Hub’ at the Youth Services Bureau. Opened earlier this year on the main floor of YSB’s new housing project, the Youth Hub is a unique and innovative approach to supporting vulnerable youth. Through the Youth Hub, critical mental health services will be readily available to youth living onsite without having to travel to other locations, often a barrier to accessing services for those with limited financial means.

Before Thursday’s game gets under way, Stephanie Richardson and a local mental health champion representing the Youth Services Bureau will take part in a ceremonial puck drop with the team captains.

Prior to and during Thursday’s game, Senators’ wives and girlfriends will join volunteers from Bell and DIFD, along with Ottawa Senators Foundation president and CEO Danielle Robinson, to raise funds through the sale of Hockey Talks DIFD themed merchandise.

For more information about Bell Let’s Talk, Hockey Talks and DIFD, please visit www.sensfoundation.com.

Article by Brad Weir

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