Mental Health Week - A Time to Talk

Mental Health Week - A Time to Talk

"My passion for skating and training remains strong, however, after recent struggles on and off the ice, I realize I need to seek some professional help and will be taking some time off... This time will help me become a stronger person, which I believe will be reflected in my skating performances as well."

These November remarks come from American athlete Gracie Gold as she announced her decision to temporarily step back from competitive figure skating to get help for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. This decision from the two-time U.S. champion reflects the strength of character she has, as well as the changing context when it comes to talking about mental illness today.

It is with thanks to the courage of athletes like Gracie Gold and our own Elizabeth Manley, supported by the efforts of groups such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Do It For Daron, and the Bell Let’s Talk Foundation, that we in the sporting community – and everywhere – are starting to speak up, and more importantly seek help when needed. Be it performance anxiety or full-blown anxiety disorders, our kids need to be comfortable enough, and we need to be comfortable enough, to reach out and ask for help.

When I is replaced with We, even Illness becomes Wellness.
— Malcom X

We all need to do our part to create that kind of environment for ourselves and our kids so we can help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This week reminds us that in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness. Getting help and support early can make a world of difference.

Please take the spirit of National Mental Health Week and practice it year-round, talk to someone you trust, AND keep the conversation going!!

Check out these links to find resources near you:

Mental Health Services
Find a CMHA near you
Ottawa Public Health - Mental Health
Resource Guide - Greater Ottawa Area