Posts Tagged ‘#BellLetsTalk’

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VANCOUVER, B.C –  Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day, an opportunity to help open doors, shine a spotlight on mental health issues and raise awareness to help end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Everyone knows somebody battling mental health issues. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or what you’ve done in life. There are no days off. Mental health awareness is important and it’s crucial that people are more open to talking about it.

How important is mental health?

“Extremely important,” Whitecaps FC’s Russell Teibert told reporters this week. “It’s a topic of conversation globally now in any work place, setting. Whether it’s a kid in elementary school or someone working a nine to five job, or even in professional sports. It’s a topic that needs to be talked about.”

“We’re fortunate to have Bell as a sponsor. They’re on the front of our jerseys, our super cool jerseys. It’s important for it to be talked about. That’s what it is, Bell Let’s Talk.”

Athletes are constantly under pressure to perform and live up to their contracts. Players, fans, and media demand to see them at their best. Just like you, when you’re not always at your best, athletes sometimes don’t deliver in the crunch.

“A lot of people probably don’t even know that they suffer from something like this,” Whitecaps FC’s Doneil Henry told Har Journalist. “It’s good to just engage in conversation, and let people know that it’s good to get things of their chest and raise awareness of what it is. That’s the key.”

We live in a society with less, and less privacy. Social media is a great online tool that allows you to express yourself, but it can also cause hurt. Everyone goes through life’s challenges. Talking about those challenges can help end the stigma and raise awareness.

“I think now with even social media, information, and everything that you have as information,” Coach Marc Dos Santos explained. “Just regularly everyday, people are becoming more aware of a lot of different types of issues. It’s a good initiative from everybody to highlight that, and make everybody aware, and sensitive to a cause like this.”

The 26 year-old Teibert doesn’t want people to be afraid of opening up and sharing life’s obstacles. The more you talk about something, the less likely you are to be consumed, worried and afraid of it.

“Everyone goes through mental health,” Teibert said. “No matter who you are, how extreme, or severe, everybody goes through mental health. A friend of mine who I met through a charitable organization explained mental health the best to me.”

“Mental health is like weeds in the garden. If you don’t do the weeding in the garden, what you’re trying to grow will not prosper. If you talk about it. If you’re open with it and you understand that mental health is not something to be hidden or to be afraid of. You’ll end up being able to talk about it with ease and confidence, and know that it’s not something you should hide or fear.”

If you get hit in the head, sprain your foot, or break your hand, you get treatment and a return to play recovery schedule. There’s always a plan to bounce back from a physical injury. The same can’t be said for mental health issues. You can go to the doctor for both, but only one is generally talked about and visually seen.

That needs to change.

“If you have a hamstring strain, you do the necessary things to treat that injury,” Teibert explained. “It’s not something that…. oh the hamstring will get better on its own. It’s something that you need to address. There’s things that you can do to address your mental health. Whether that is talking about it or seeing a professional that can help you. I think the most important thing is having a strong background whether that’s your family, support team, that’s able to help you and coach you through it.”

If you need help or someone to talk to find support among your family, and friends.

“In life we go through different situations that are unique,” Dos Santos added. “It’s always good to be surrounded by good friends, family, and people that love you to make sure that you’re in the right environment to grow, and achieve your dreams regardless of the position you’re in.”

Bell Let’s Talk Day is a once a year innovative, but it’s a strong reminder that we all can do more to continue raising awareness to help our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours dealing mental health issues.

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UBC Thunderbirds Hannah Clayton-Carroll (Left), and Kathleen Cahoon (Right).

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds are in the think of the second half of the Canada West season. Coming off of back to back shutouts over the Calgary Dinos, the 12-6-0 Thunderbirds will host the 7-11-0 Regina Cougars on Friday and Saturday at Father David Bauer Arena.

It’s going to be a special Friday night, as hockey won’t be on the forefront. The Thunderbirds are hosting their second annual Mental Health Awareness game. The women’s hockey program has made it a priority to raise awareness and help out on campus as much as possible after the loss of goaltender Laura Taylor in 2016.

“It’s obviously a close to home cause for us,” Coach Graham Thomas admitted. “A lot of players played with Laura here, and alumni is coming. It’s an important cause for us, and it’s something we’ve been advocates for the cause. There’s been some good come out of it, some opening up, and support that’s come out of it. That’s happened across the country, and in our league. We’ve had a lot of players, and people reach out to us. It’s a great cause.”

UBC President Santa Ono is expected to take part in a ceremonial puck drop. Ono has been open about his battle with mental health issues. Each team will wear a special sticker on their helmet. Fans are encouraged to wear green, as that is the colour for mental health awareness. There will be fundraising for causes like Bell Let’s Talk, and much more.

“It’s a big thing for our team, obviously with the loss of LT (Laura Taylor), it’s a big thing for us,” Kathleen Cahoon added. “We want to every other team to come out and support it, and get people talking, that’s the biggest thing. We don’t want the stigma to be around it, and not have people talk about it. We’re really trying to hype it up, and get people talking.”

Canada West Ice Hockey (CIS): Women -  UBC Thunderbirds host Regina

UBC Thunderbirds, Kathleen Cahoon. Photo Credit: Rich Lam UBC Athletics.

As with athletes there tends to be an onus, and somewhat of a duty for them to speak up and raise awareness whenever they can, and not just for mental health awareness. Athletes are held in a higher regard, and people look up to them. The UBC Thunderbirds realize that, and want to make sure they are doing their part to lend a hand or an ear.

“With us and our success the last couple of years, and media attention we’ve got, we’re trying to use it as a platform to help raise awareness to do the best thing we can for it. It’s a big thing for us and over the years we have noticed a difference, even in our own dressing room. We have started to speak up about it and girls are opening up. We try and create a safe place for everyone and try and relay that message across campus,” Cahoon said.

 

The Thunderbirds are helping to lead the way, and they are committed to making a change with more initiatives, resources, and dialogue. Mikayla Ogrodniczuk is a great example of how much it means to want to make a difference. The third-year defender, and her dad, Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, Professor and Director of the UBC Psychotherapy Program, helped create a resource called the UBC Athletes Hub.

Modelled after a program at the University of Michigan. The UBC Athletes Hub aims to increase awareness of mental health issues, reduce the stigma of help-seeking, and promote health and wellness among varsity athletes at UBC. The free resource was launched just last month, and is being greatly received.

“My dad and I teamed up with some of his coworkers, as well as a former varsity athlete that works with him, and created something called UBC Athlete Hub,” Mikayla Ogrodniczuk shared. “It’s a mental health resource for all UBC varsity athletes. It’s the first of its kind in Canada. No other Canadian university has this kind of resource. We’re really excited to promote it.”

Adjusting to life at university can be quite challenging for students. Having a Mental Health Awareness game shows that the Thunderbirds stand with those who are struggling and may need help. If more people talked about mental health issues as much as they do about hockey, that would benefit a lot of people. The UBC Thunderbirds are determined to do both.

UBC Athletes Hub – http://ubcathleteshub.ca

Bell Let’s Talk – https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

 

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UBC Thunderbirds Hannah Clayton-Carroll (Left), and Kathleen Cahoon (Right) supporting Bell Let’s Talk day.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds skated in line rushes during a lengthy practice on Wednesday morning at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Coach Graham Thomas was putting his players through the paces as they prepare to host the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Friday (7:00 pm) and Saturday (4:00pm) at UBC.

It’s been a busy January for the Thunderbirds who have been helping to raise awareness for mental health issues in the memory of Laura Taylor. On Bell Let’s Talk day, one player stood out during practice, second year forward, Hannah Clayton-Carroll was rocking the Bell Let’s Talk day toque. The bright blue addition was noticeable on top of her helmet, and it also matched the patented Thunderbirds blue jersey.

It’s a small gesture, but something Clayton-Carroll felt comfortable embracing.

“I just think it’s important for everyone to know that it’s something not heavy in the media, it just needs to become something more popular for people to talk about. Wearing the toque is something small that I can do to help out other people. It’s a great thing to do.”

All around campus, athletes from the Thunderbird flock have been doing all that they can do to spread awareness, talk, and listen to people struggling with mental health issues. Coach Thomas couldn’t be more happy by the response his team has received, it’s even moved him to perhaps, one day, jump aboard a social media platform to help out.

“We’ve had a great response,” said Thomas. “We’re so proud of the girls, they’re really buying into it. It’s obviously close to home for us, it means a lot to us, this year especially, and from now on moving forward. It’s a great campaign, it’s awesome. I need to personally learn how to… I don’t have twitter, I don’t have any of that, I’ve never hash-tagged before. I need to take advantage of this campaign with Bell. In all seriousness, our girls are doing a phenomenal job. We’re just really proud of them.”

West Vancouver native, Haneet Parhar, has been blown away by the overall positive feedback from fellow UBC students, and faculty. Sometimes it only takes one group of strong-minded people to speak up and get the puck rolling. The Thunderbirds have done just that, in Taylor’s honour. They’ve shown that it’s not all about goals, assists, academics, and the latest Snapchat filter. It’s about caring for friends, family, others around you, and sometimes complete strangers.

“We’ve got a lot of feedback,” revealed Parhar. “It’s extraordinary to hear (that) people we’ve never even talked to, we didn’t even know, come up to us, and say, wow, thank you so much, this means so much to me, and we love that you guys are doing this. It’s making a difference with people that we don’t even know. It’s really important.”

The hashtag, #BellLetsActuallyTalk was trending on twitter on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a signal that indicates more needs to be done to raise awareness and progress talks surrounding mental health issues, all year around. #BellLetsTalk day is a fantastic initiative from Bell, but what about the other 364 days of the year?

Communities like the Southeast Asian, East Asian, and others don’t necessarily communicate very well within those cultural societies. If you have a mental health issue, it can often be perceived as a weakness, impairment, or bad omen to share your struggles with others.

Parhar is familiar with this notion, and she wants to help make a change.

“Yeah it’s very important,” admitted Parhar. “I personally, unfortunately have first hand knowledge of that. It’s a stigma that is not just within one culture, or one society, it spans all over the world. It is extremely important, because it’s something that is not talked about outside of more progressive societies, so it’s very important.”

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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Haneet Parhar supports Bell Let’s Talk Day.

The UBC Thunderbirds family is one close-knit family that’s doing big things to help reach other people so other families don’t suffer in silence. Retiring Laura Taylor’s jersey on January 6, having her family in attendance, and raising money to help others is a lasting effect that will be felt beyond this month. The Thunderbirds have been brought closer together as a team, and in turn, Coach Thomas has learned a few things himself.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” said Thomas, “We’re always looking at ways to get better. For me as a coach, it’s an area you can always get better in. You can’t control everything, and there’s definitely an onus on the person who is going through a tough time to tell somebody, but there’s also a part of that, where it’s on the rest of the team, coaching staff, and everyone to be aware to try and ask some questions sometimes, and reach out sometimes or try and do as much as we can do. We can’t be there all the time, and I recognize that. We can’t follow them around and babysit them, they’re adults. At the same time, yeah there’s things for sure we’ve taken away, or me personally have taken away to be better and more aware.”

Hannah Clayton-Carroll vows to wear her blue toque everyday to help others. Although she’ll probably have to wash it sometime, she, like her teammates are showing just how much mental health awareness needs to be in the spotlight all year round.

“I’ve been on social media a lot this morning,” said Clayton-Carroll, “I’ve noticed that half of my friends tweeting #BellLetsTalk, and re-tweeting all of that. It shows that everyone in the community really cares about this issue. They all want to battle towards it, and help end the stigma.”

If more organizations, businesses, and people come together, like the UBC Thunderbirds, one day, a day devoted to raising awareness for mental health issues might not be needed as much as it is now. Until that day comes, the UBC Thunderbirds will be there to lend a helping hand, and they might even help Coach Thomas figure out twitter.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Whitecaps FC story on Bell Let’s Talk day.

http://www.rednationonline.ca/Articles2016/WhitecapsplayersshowsupportforBellLetsTalk.aspx

Thanks

 

****(Photo by Wilson Wong/UBC Athletics 2015 All Rights Reserved)****

UBC Thunderbirds goalkeeper, Laura Taylor. Photo Credit: UBC Athletics

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will honour the life and memory of Thunderbirds goalkeeper, Laura Taylor on Friday, January 6 prior to puck drop against the visiting Alberta Pandas. Taylor, tragically took her own life last April, just days before her 34th birthday.

Laura Taylor’s number 29 jersey will be retired by the Thunderbirds. The Taylor family will be part of a pre-game ceremony, as well as other on, and off ice components. Guests include UBC President and Vice Chancellor, Dr. Santa Ono, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dermot Kelleher, and UBC Department of Athletics Director, Gord Hopper.

The UBC Thunderbirds family want to shine the spotlight on mental health awareness issues and open a positive dialogue for anyone going through a tough time. The Thunderbirds have reached out to Bell Let’s Talk, and partners on the UBC campus. Coach Graham Thomas wants to remember Laura, and also help to anyone else struggiling.

“The overall goal besides remembering and honouring Laura, is also awareness for mental health,” said Thomas. “Just getting rid of that stigma and getting the awareness out there of starting the conversation. Bell-Let’s-Talk is involved, and there’s a bunch of partners involved on campus with mental health and suicide awareness. It’s obviously a great cause, and we’re getting a lot of athletes, people, and other groups behind it. Hopefully it will be a good turnout and a good event for awareness.”

Anyone who wants to make a donation to help raise awareness for mental health issues will be able to that at booths setup along the main concourse of the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Fans are encouraged to show support by wearing green. The Thunderbirds have also been given the go ahead for a chuck-a-puck fundraiser that will help raise money for mental health issues.

“We’re doing a new draw for all of our home games,” revealed Thomas. “It’s called chuck-a-puck. Fifty percent will go to the winner, and fifty percent of the proceeds in all the games will go to mental health awareness. They’ll have two or three different booths setup at the game, there will be opportunities to donate at the game and contribute to some different charities and foundations.”

People look up to athletes and think they’re invincible, that’s not the case. UBC Thunderbirds captain, Stephanie Schaupmeyer and her teammates have the ability to help raise awareness, and they want to help. A mental health issue can occur with anyone, it’s extremly important to speak openly about it and seek help if you need it.

“I think it’s so huge, especially as athletes,” said Schaupmeyer. “I think sometimes people think, we’re tough, we’re strong, we have our teammates, it doesn’t affect us. I think that couldn’t be more wrong. Mental illnesses aren’t discriminatory, and they aren’t picky about who they choose to trouble people with. I think it’s important that as athletes, we’re speaking up together.”

Laura’s time with the Thunderbirds was memorable. She was a leader and mentor and helped UBC win a silver medal at the 2016 CIS Nationals. Taylor might not have been on the ice for every game, but she was just as hard-working, passionate, and thrilled to be UBC Thunderbird.

“She was so dedicated, she loved hockey, loved the game, very smart, intelligent, caring, and helpful,” said Thomas. “(Laura) was acting in a mentorship role. She was going to be a neurosurgeon. As an older mature person, that’s the way she came in and that was her role and what she played into right away. She didn’t inform anybody about what she had gone through in her past, and what she was dealing with, which is the unfortunate part of the help piece. She was just so caring and giving, and thinking about others. We will always remember, appreciate, and respect that.”

When UBC looks to add to a fourteen game winning streak vs Alberta. They will no doubt have Laura cheering them on and supporting them from a far better place. That’s just the way Laura was with her teammates, excited, and ready for the next big team adventure.

“Laura was the kind of person that would light up a room when she walked in, said Schaupmeyer. “She had this insanely big contagious smile. She always had her phone out to document what was going on. She just loved being a part of the team, and we loved having her as part of the team. She will always be part of the team.”

http://memorial.supporting.ubc.ca/laura-taylor/

Notes: #BellLetsTalk day is Wednesday, January 25, 2017.