Mindcheck Builds Community Around Mental Health Awareness

Courtesy of Whitegadget.com

Former Vancouver Canuck, Rick Rypien, stuggled against depression for years, and sadly passed away in August 2011. The NHLer was touted as a “a quiet hero” who “confided in those he knew best of his plans to support others and help alleviate the stigma associated with mental illness by being a spokesperson of the ordeals of the disease.” Those who knew him best, like Kevin Bieksa, have committed to tell his story and carry out the mission as a legacy of their friend.

As told above by Bieksa (who, incidentally, blocks shots with his sprawling body because he’s awesome), Rick’s tragic passing has galvanized the Vancouver Canucks community to speak out about mental health issues, which has resulted in the incredibly powerful mindcheck.ca‘s recently launched initiative called In One Voice.

Mental health and substance use challenges affect our community each and every day. So, if you know someone who is silently suffering, please speak up about it. Here are some facts that make the case:

  • Mental health and substance use disorders are the primary health issues experienced by young people in their teen years and early 20s. In fact, one in five youth in BC will experience a mental health or substance use disorder serious enough to cause significant distress and impair their ability to function at home, at school and with their peers.
  • Often early symptoms or behaviours are mislabeled as being just a phase or part of an individual’s personality. In addition, youth and young adults are often embarrassed to talk about or seek support for how they’re feeling or what they’re experiencing due to stigma.
  • 75% of mental health and substance use issues begin by age 24 and often go unrecognized and untreated. Mindcheck has been developed to connect youth and young adults to support early and quickly to prevent initial problems and challenges from developing into disorders. Support includes self-help resources, non-professional support, or established mental health services.
  • When issues are identified early, simple self-help strategies are often all that are needed to help young people get better in less time and can prevent things from becoming worse.

I believe in this idea and I spoke up because I’ve seen how mental health and substance use challenges can tear up families and communities – and it’s worse when we don’t talk about it. You can speak up by following this link. Here are some other reasons to believe in the idea:

  • Talking about and understanding mental health issues will eliminate the stigma that surrounds them.
  • Increasing knowledge about mental health issues will increase the likelihood that people will reach out for help.
  • When family and friends understand mental health issues, they will be able to recognize the behaviours associated with these issues and provide support.
  • According to the McCreary Centre Society’s 2008 Adolescent Health Survey Report, the vast majority of youth turn to their friends when they are seeking help. Among youth who sought support, they reported that advice from friends was even more helpful than advice from doctors, nurses, teachers or school counsellors.

Yes, the good people at Fraser Health, BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Provincial Health Services Authority, the RBC Children’s Mental Health Project, the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Canucks for Kids fund make a strong case for speaking up about mental health and substance challenges. Right, Kevin Bieksa?